Radiation Free Lakeland have sent the following response to the Welsh Consultation on Radioactive Waste Management. Wales wants to change its previously neutral stance on Geological Disposal because it wants to build new reactors in Anglesey. Geological Disposal is not safe anywhere. New build is not safe anywhere. The Consultation ends on January 22nd. Please feel free to use any of the arguments and have a look at the links below. The consultation can be found here: http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/environmentandcountryside/disposal-higher-activity-radioactive-waste/?lang=en Please write to : RPPmailbox@wales.gsi.gov.uk with your objection to New Build and Geological Disposal before January 22nd For the Attention of: RADIOACTIVITY AND POLLUTION PREVENTION WELSH GOVERNMENT This is a Response to the Welsh Government’s Review of its policy on higher activity radioactive waste, by the Cumbrian based nuclear safety group, Radiation Free Lakeland. Although based in Cumbria RaFL have many supporters based in Wales. There are no paid members of Radiation Free Lakeland, we are all are volunteers. INTRODUCTION From 2008 – 2014, the Welsh Government reserved its view on deep “geological disposal” of higher activity radioactive waste. It is now reviewing this policy because:
- The Welsh Government is now actively supporting the construction of new nuclear reactors at Wylfa on Anglesey. Radiation Free Lakeland oppose new build, the “high burn” wastes would be even hotter than from existing wastes.
- The Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste (SF&RW) Directive (Directive 2011/70/Euratom), which came into force in 2011, requires Member States to establish and maintain a national policy for the safe and responsible management of radioactive waste be implemented through a national programme, and to report on that programme by 23 August 2015. The policy for management is left to individual countries i.e. Geological Disposal is not a requirement it is a policy choice.
- DECC is restarting the “siting process” in England following the No vote in Cumbria. Scotland is opposed to Geological Disposal, preferring interim storage of up to 300 years on or as near as possible to sites of production.
STATEMENT We are concerned that this Consultation Review seeks to reinforce the dangerous view that new build can be divorced from the management of new wastes. The Welsh Government states: “This consultation is not about Welsh Government policy of supporting new nuclear power stations, like Wylfa Newydd, on existing nuclear sites, but about Welsh Government policy on how wastes from such sites should be managed if they are built.” This hellish optimism fostered by the nuclear industry and repeated by Government is what has led to the existing state of the waste ponds at Sellafield. At the time the original Magnox Pond was built it was “State of the Art” – a sparkling white wonder of the modern world that would never leak, and that was less than 50 years ago. New ponds have been added, all are in a perilous state, threatening not only the safety of Cumbria but also that of our European neighbours. Instead of putting all money and expertise into containing the existing wastes in interim storage of 300 years, the UK policy (in England) of geological disposal is clearly being used in order to facilitate new build. The dangerous and demonstrably false message being promoted to the public is “we have a plan, so we can make more wastes.” RECOMMENDATIONS
- We fully support the Nuclear Free Local Authorities and Committee on Radioactive Waste Management’s recommendation that a quite separate discussion should be held on the political and ethical issues raised by creating new wastes by building new reactors. In any case spent fuel from the new reactors proposed for Wylfa would need to be stored for up to 100 years and maybe longer before they would be cool enough to be packaged or moved anywhere else.
- Radiation Free Lakeland urge the Welsh Government to adopt the Scottish Government policy on Higher Activity Wastes:
“…That the long-term management of higher activity radioactive waste should be in near-surface facilities. Facilities should be located as near to the site where the waste is produced as possible. Developers will need to demonstrate how the facilities will be monitored and how waste packages, or waste, could be retrieved.”
- Radiation Free Lakeland recommends a moratorium on the UK policy of Geological Disposal until such time as the growing mountain of technical problems has been addressed. Maybe the fact needs to be looked at head on that there is no “away” and that the safest solution for intergenerational health is for the waste to be repackaged at near surface facilities again and again by us and future generations. The aim is for isolation of the wastes from the biosphere and that cannot be achieved now… and may never be achieved by Geological Disposal.
Response compiled by Marianne Birkby on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland References: Radiation Free Lakeland: http://wildar4.wix.com/radiation-free-land#! High Burn Fuel of New Build: http://www.robedwards.com/2008/04/nuclear-super-f.html NuclearFreeLocalAuthoritiesResponse: http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/docs/news/NFLA_Welsh_radwaste_consultation_response.pdf RockSolid? http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/Publications/2010/rock-solid-a-scientific-review/ Sellafield Ponds. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/29/sellafield-nuclear-radioactive-risk-storage-ponds-fears