[“Landscape of Thorns”, concept by Michael Brill and drawing by Safdar Abidi, from Marking the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for 10,000 Years]
It has been confirmed that Keswick Town Council has, rather bizarrely given the town’s reputation as tourist hot spot, voted to carry on the government ‘steps towards geological disposal.’
The vote was 5 for and 5 against with the town’s mayor throwing the casting vote while talking about the jobs that a geological disposal facility would bring. This contrasts starkly with the emphatic NO from Cockermouth Town Council, and Seaton and Above Derwent Parish Councils who have cited the threat to jobs in tourism and agriculture as just one of the very good reasons to say No. Tourism alone is worth 2bn per year to the Cumbrian economy with over 32,000 direct jobs in contrast to the nuclear industry. The combined civil nuclear workforce in the whole of the North West including Heysham is around 23,000.
The jobs provided by a geological dump would be around 500 according to the Nuclear Industry Association – what they don’t say is that the jobs provided by continually repacking the waste as safely as possible into eternity, rather than dumping it underground would be of far greater number and over a far longer period of time.
In other words the jobs argument in favour of a geological dump does not stack up and we have not even brought agriculture into the equation.
From one of the voting Keswick Councillors
The Mayor “made clear his views but did not vote the first time.
Then when we tied 5/5 he took a re-vote, after it was made clear by him
and others that he would as is quite proper vote this time. So there is
nothing dodgy here”