Allerdale Borough Council – Undecided* – mid blue
Copeland Borough Council – Undecided* – light green
Parishes for – dark green /eyed monster
BGS exclusion zones – red cross-hatching
National Park boundary – red line
Partnership area (inc. offshore) – green line
Parishes against – red
* Borough Councils Allerdale and Copeland have “expressed an interest” in a dump on behalf of those in their parishes but are yet to make a decision whether to take the next step to look for a site
Despite the best efforts of the government quango tasked with promoting the nuclear dump the overwhelming majority of parishes who have voted have unanimously opposed going on with “steps towards geological disposal.”
The mythical “willing community” is nowhere to be seen – only a green eyed monster.
Decisions known to date.
NO TO DUMP
Seaton, Cockermouth, Above Derwent, Loweswater, Lorton, Buttermere
Crosscanonby, Holme St Cuthbert, Papcastle, Thursby, Boltons
Aspatria, Blindcrake, Dean, Greysouthen, Waverton
YES TO DUMP
NO TO DUMP
Millom Without, Ennerdale & Kinniside, Whicham, Gosforth, Subberthwaite
“It is the NFLA view that, should the Cumbrian authorities move on to the next stage, the momentum in the process will be too great to allow withdrawal in future. Cumbria could, therefore end up not only with a disposal facility which takes all the spent fuel from new reactors, but also with more than one dump”.
Blawith and Subberthwaite Parish Council resolved (Item 12b – full Minutes on http://www.crake.org) to write to Copeland DC, Allerdale DC and Cumbria CC (cc. County Councillor Claire
Salisbury) to convey general unease about the closeness of the proposed
waste deposit sites to this parish, and to urge, because of the unsoundness
of the geology, that the use of those sites should not be pursued.
We have no confidence in the MRWS Partnership report for the following reasons:
1. Geology. With its steep hydraulic gradients, its faulted and complex geology, and its associated difficulties of rock characterisation West Cumbria is certainly not an obvious first choice for a Repository. The relevance of the suitability or otherwise of the geology rests in providing the general public with the confidence and reassurance that a Repository can be safely sited in West Cumbria and remain safe over tens of thousands of years. This confidence and reassurance is absent in the consultation document and the representation of a more positive picture than is implied by the underpinning documentation serves only to emphasise this absence.
2. Impacts. We have serious concerns about the impacts of a Repository on West Cumbria. We do not believe that these would be uniform, and it is our opinion that the impacts of siting a Repository would be felt more severely on the less nuclear dependent Allerdale than on Copeland. More seriously we find it difficult to understand how your opinions on the criteria can be expressed with such certainty when the brand protection work which you commissioned has not been completed, and we remain gravely concerned about the implications of this situation. Direct impacts on any Host Community during construction, which would be enormous in scale and for many years, appear to be totally ignored.
3. The engagement and siting processes. The June 2008 White Paper clearly sets out that Government policy expected a Repository to be delivered by Voluntarism and Partnership Working, through the key mechanism of a Community Siting Partnership. The consultation document represents a radical departure from Government policy and institutes in its place the primacy of the Principal Authorities. This is completely unacceptable. Moreover as a result of this departure from Government policy, we are now faced with the illogical and absurd situation of spending several years attempting to decide whether to make a Decision to Participate in locating a Repository in West Cumbria, without having actually located a suitable site beforehand, and with less than helpful geological indicators.
4. Benefits Packages. We have concerns that early discussions about benefits packages could give the impression of a ‘done deal’, and the emphasis on benefit packages at this time is misplaced.
5. Retrievability. Retrievability should not be a core part of disposal and we have serious concerns that discussions relating to the retrievability of emplaced waste are illogical and misleading.
OUR OVERALL VIEW IS THAT GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOW INTERVENE TO TERMINATE THE MRWS PARTNERSHIP AND ASSOCIATED PROCESS, AND IN ITS PLACE INSTITUTE A PROCESS ALONG THE LINES OF THOSE ALREADY USED IN SWEDEN AND FINLAND.
Clerk – on behalf of Gosforth Parish Council
16th March 2012
Under this land it is planned to build the world’s first waste dump for
highly radioactive waste. Say No before 23 March 2012
Contact Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership
Freepost RSKT-LTXU-HAYC, West Cumbria MRWS Partnership
Copeland Borough Council, Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Write, Phone, Email …… e.g. the Lake District National Park
Me and my friends used to cycle past Swarthmoor Hall and scare ourselves, it looked spooky and derelict then to 6 year olds cycling down country lanes. Today it has been restored and is well known as the ‘Cradle of Quakerism’ because in the mid-17th Century it was the home of Judge Thomas Fell and his wife Margaret who provided protection for George Fox (who later married Margaret) and allowed the Hall to be the principal headquarters for the movement.
Good News Today from the Friends and worth reading in full…..
Quakers say no . . . .
to the MWRS search for a disposal site in Cumbria for hazardous high-level radioactive waste.
This process is grossly unethical. Though the first priority should be clear and unequivocal safety of the geology being explored, contrary to international practice and to all logic with regard to the complex question of locating a site to be safe for thousands of years, this procedure asks first for a volunteer host community.
This deflects the site search from parts of the UK which are geologically safer but which are politically more sensitive . It is a clear abrogation of the most profound responsibilities of central government who are effectively delegating responsibility for the safety of future generations to local authorities vulnerable to economic pressure.
Only Copeland and Allerdale, in the whole of the UK, have volunteered to even consider the process. They are in an invidious position. They are aware that the future of nuclear power and therefore their highest wage generator may depend on a ‘quick-fix’ for the nuclear waste legacy but they also know that jobs will be lost if the public increasingly perceives their area negatively.
In the 1990s after the expenditure of £440mn at the NIREX Inquiry, the Secretary of State for the Environment concurred with the views of his Inspector and experts that Cumbria’s geology was not suitable for a repository. They have since reaffirmed their views. After NIREX and with the UK’s finances in such a poor state can Cumbria really have confidence that fifteen years from now after more £bns have been spent that whoever is in power will not just impose a ‘least safe’ repository ?
The process is a travesty of democracy. It substitutes persuasion and incentives backed by lavish public relations ‘spin’ in place of wisdom and integrity in the governmental process. It is a potential tragedy for Cumbria and for our neighbours because it is future generations of both Cumbrians and neighbouring communities, possibly far and wide, who will have to live with the consequences.
On behalf of Swarthmoor, South West Cumbria Quakers, Area Meeting.
Robert Straughton* Co-clerk
Jane Pearson, Co-clerk
Paul Milling ** Sustainability Group,
Telephone 01229 860231
Members: *Churches Together in Cumbria Social Forum, ** ‘CTiC Environment Group.
Notes on the current search for a Nuclear Waste Repository:
How did we arrive here? National politicians for decades have been fearful the search for a Nuclear waste burial site may adversely affect politically important constituencies. In the past Ministers Nicholas Ridley and William Whitelaw are both reported as having summarily halted the search for alternatives elsewhere in the UK. Governments used to imposing all kinds of developments on communities – fast rail links, motorways, airport runways etc – where the impact on future generations is minimal, are prepared to encourage ‘voluntarism’ even though the wrong decision on nuclear waste will cost £billions and may affect millions in the future.
However, national politicians and their agencies looking for a ‘quick-fix’ know West Cumbria does not contain politically sensitive constituencies and believe it can be persuaded by economic benefits in a time of ever increasing economic uncertainty.
Safety First ? : The West Cumbria MRWS say “safety is the most important issue” but this is not the case. The ‘Voluntarism’ being advocated in the UK differs profoundly from other countries who have resolved the question of the safe geology first.
And note the public statement which shows the mind-set steering the process from
John Dalton , Dept for Energy and Climate Change, Kendal Jan 23, 2012 –
”We are optimistic that the process is robust and that West Cumbria will go forward with
this. There is no Plan B; we are not planning for failure.”
Population: by comparison with West Cumbria the population living near proposed disposal sites in other countries is low or negligible. West Cumbria is the most heavily populated area of Cumbria being the industrial-urban belt of extinct coal and iron mining and steelmaking. Over 200,000 people live in or within 20 miles of the ‘volunteer’ zone including most of the major Cumbrian communities ; the City of Carlisle, Barrow in Furness, Keswick, Cockermouth, Workington, Whitehaven and Maryport. That excludes any transient population staying in the Lake District National Park and other tourism areas.
Public Relations now but what Confidence in the Future? : The MWRS process involves a huge and sophisticated public relations high-spending campaign to persuade Cumbrians that everything will be well and that they can withdraw from the process any time – ‘subject to conditions’.
Having spent £440mn on NIREX came the clear answer Cumbria was unsuitable. But the priority to find a site in Cumbria has since overruled the NIREX result. After NIREX and with the UK’s finances in a very poor state can the public really have confidence that ten to fifteen years or more from now after further £bns have been expended, that whoever is in power will not impose a ‘least best’ option on Cumbria ? Where safety is sacrificed to expediency by a future government who may feel they have little choice given their financial situation ?
Misinformation and NIREX : A spokesperson for the current process at a public meeting in Cumbria in January 11 is reported as stating ” the outcome of the NIREX Inquiry would have been favourable to geological disposal of high level nuclear wastes had all the information been available at that time”.
This was quickly refuted by the Nirex inspector Mr Chris McDonald who wrote :
“…of your opinion that the outcome of the Inquiry would have been different…This was not a view put forward by Nirex … and it causes me some concern now. The fundamental conclusion of the expert Assessor and myself was that the Proposed Repository Zone had been chosen for these studies in an arbitrary manner, without conforming to internationally agreed, geological criteria.” He goes on to say. “It would not suffice in European Law to rely on the…voluntarism approach, since that attaches far too much weight to the transient views of the current population.”
Earlier in a letter to “The Guardian” of June 28,’07 he had stated :
“The relevant geology in west Cumbria is apparently now claimed to be ‘stable, although imperfect’.…the imperfection consists of simply failing to meet the internationally agreed criteria on the suitability of rocks for nuclear waste deposit. The site should be in a region of low groundwater flow, and the geology should be readily characterisable and predictable, whereas the rocks there are actually of a complex volcanic nature, with significant faulting. Also, the industry was relying on an overlying layer of sedimentary strata to dilute and disperse any groundwater leakage, when the international criteria require such a layer to act instead as a barrier…The site is not suitable and investigations should be moved elsewhere…”.
And: “The site selection process was flawed, not treating safety as the most important
factor, and irrationally affected by a strong desire to locate close to Sellafield.”
Geology : Safe geology means finding an area where the geology is not complex, where it is stable, through which water doesn’t flow and where the rock is overlaid with a barrier such as clay. Professor David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow, who was also involved in the NIREX Inquiry states:‘ none of the geology in West Cumbria is suitable’. He states there are sites in the UK which potentially offer the right conditions especially in East Anglia.
Engineering : The MWRS campaign glosses over the safety of the engineered underground structures designed to contain the hazardous waste when such installations have never been completed and cannot and never will be tested in situ. It is widely expected (and impossible to verify in any event) that the engineered containers in the repository may develop pinholes through which radio-active waste will leak within 2-300 years. Radio-active waste remains hazardous for many thousands of years and within a few hundred years will have decayed only minimally which is why the geology of the site is so crucial.
In a Kendal MWRS public meeting a question was asked ‘what if the right geology couldn’t be found in West Cumbria’. The answer received was that ‘an engineering solution would be found to make it work’. In other words : fitting unproven and unprovable engineered solutions within unsuitable geology.
Councillors in Allerdale and Copeland : some concerned and sincere local councillors in Cumbria consider that after the past decades of government prevarication they are in an impossible position. If due to continued government procrastination they may by default be left with the waste anyway, they may as well take the community incentives and ‘sweeteners’ they hope will be on offer.
Nuclear and non-Nuclear jobs and Economics : There is an estimate a repository may require up to 550 direct jobs. However If Cumbria refused to accept a nuclear waste site, insisting a safer one had to be located elsewhere, this would also provide many jobs in West Cumbria where the waste stored there would have to be processed and readied for its removal and transport. It is wrong to suggest only a waste repository site in Cumbria would create jobs there.
But by siting a repository in Cumbria other jobs may be lost. Negative publicity could be reflected in lost jobs in various industries vulnerable to the public’s perceptions : agriculture, food processing, packaging, tourism, etc., with implications for the economy of the whole County of Cumbria now and in the future.
The site search and its development at each stage will be headline news with possibly negative publicity which may run for decades. Cumbria Tourism has commissioned independent research into how the proposed development would impact.
It is understood that it is not due to be published before the deadline for representations but it is reported that preliminary results indicate a nuclear waste site in Cumbria would have a negative impact on the public’s perception.
The ethically spurious nature of the ‘Voluntarism’ process itself gives the area image and public relations instability which can draw negative publicity for years to come. This would not be the case if any such site anywhere in the UK had followed logical international safety guidelines for site search. The process would have had integrity and the public would perceive this is so. Regrettably this is not the case in the current process.
Churches Together in Cumbria : Their ‘Social Responsibility Forum’ and Environment Group, who has participated in the partnership, in a recent press release stated:
“While community acceptance of any possible repository site is of course desirable, the imperative is its environmental suitability for thousands of years to come”.
‘Consultation’ ends on 23 March. but this crucial phase was chosen to be undertaken through December to March when people would expect to be focusing on holidays, celebrations and surviving the worst winter weather rather than expecting to attend public presentations for and against this proposal.
Government and its agencies are indeed spending a huge amount of tax-payers money and applying clever ‘public relations’ and marketing expertise in order to continue this fundamentally flawed and unethical process.
On behalf of : Swarthmoor, South West Cumbria Quakers, Area Meeting
Robert Straughton * Co-clerk,
Jane Pearson, Co-clerk,
Paul Milling, ** Sustainability Group,
Members: *Churches Together in Cumbria Social Forum, ** ‘CTiC’ Environment Group.
A live art protest/awareness afternoon took place this afternoon in Ambleside organised by determined and imaginative students. Tourists and residents engaged with the students and signed letters to give to the Lakes Parish Council asking that no more steps are taken towards a ‘geological’ nuclear dump in Cumbria
There are proposals to bury nuclear waste under the Cumbrian Mountains. This is not just a case of not wanting it ‘on our doorstep’ the Cumbrian mountains are not a safe environment for such sensitive and lethal waste products.
“Cumbria however has geology and hydrology that has been proved to be unsuitable for safe storage of this fissile material that will be deadly for generations and generations to come.”
Cumbrians have until 23 March to have their say before final decisions are taken by the executives of Allerdale Borough, Copeland Borough and Cumbria County councils to further this quest for a site although Cumbria’s geology has been found to be unsuitable.
South Lakeland District Council and Buttermere Parish Council have joined the growing number of Greater Lakeland communities opposing any further toxic steps to a nuclear dump.
So, communities thus far who strongly oppose the government’s cunning plan for the dumping of weapons of mass destruction under Cumbrian earth are:
South Lakeland District Council, Cockermouth Town Council, Cross Canonby, Threlkeld, Buttermere, Loweswater, Seaton and Above Derwent Parish Council
South Lakeland District Council is the first district council to oppose the proposals. To ensure any chance of Cumbria resisting the nasty government plan to dump weapons of mass destruction in our geology other Councils and Partnership bodies MUST follow this lead.
Back in 2008 Radiation Free Lakeland said:
“Copeland and Allerdale are being conned by the cleverest of hustlers into accepting the unacceptable. Not if, but when the councils of Copeland and Allerdale want to withdraw their offer to ‘volunteer’ future generations of Cumbrians to certain contamination – will the Government deliver on the promised schools and hospitals? Its not likely! Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet rather than going along with this vicious confidence trick should demand from the Government that West Cumbria will be assured of essential infrastructure such as schools and hospitals without being blackmailed into accepting the world’s most dangerous nuclear waste dump”.