Last night the boss of the Cumbria coal mine Mark Kirkbride was giving a talk on behalf of the government Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (he was appointed to CoRWM by BEIS in Nov 2019 just a few days after Cumbria CC gave provisional planning approval) . I registered for the ‘Science Discovery Talk’ early at 7pm for the 7.30 start as “places are limited” and was “removed by host” shortly after 7pm even though I was one of the few in the ‘waiting room’ who was muted and off camera – obviously my name was a trigger for removal by the host.
Shocking too that NGOs and media have not flagged up this outrageous conflict of government interest in the appointment of Mark Kirkbride. Why not? What is being protected by not flagging this up because it is not the public who because of the largely pathetic reporting think the coal mine argument is all about climate and jobs.
In our view as nuclear safety campaigners (who had to literally BEG climate focussed campaigners to get involved in opposing the mine – and then some years later we were told, by same, repeatedly to “shut up” about nuclear impacts of the mine “its distracting from climate”) the government couldn’t care two hoots about accusations of climate hypocrisy as long as they get the ducks lined up for a deep geological disposal facility for nuclear waste. Under the new terms of the government’s diabolic deep nuclear dump plan anyone can volunteer anywhere for a deep nuke dump in return for decades of government largesse/bribe and the volunteer doesn’t even have to own the land or live there. Of course under these insane terms there will be deep nuclear dump “expressions of interest” stalking horses for elsewhere in the UK – a bit of shock and awe in the public goes a long way. But it is clear that Cumbria is first in line and the Irish Sea area directly adjacent to Mark Kirkbride’s coal mine is being hotly promoted as “possible.’ And it is oh so convenient as the nuclear waste has been arriving here in Cumbria for decades and still it comes.
I received sight of the talk despite being ‘deleted’ and it was the usual guff puff piece as good as any snake oil salesman. It was as you would expect from those trying to sell a nuclear dump and sound honest about it. The slide below was especially deceitful – the timescales look extraordinary but even so they are not at all credible. As the Nuclear Free Local Authorities have pointed out in a recent paper “
- “A Geological Disposal Facility is not expected to be available to receive its first waste until the 2040s. It will then take around 90 years to emplace all existing waste before any spent fuel from new reactors can be emplaced. Given these timescales there is no need to hurry towards a disposal solution. The focus should be on managing existing waste where it is rather than a premature search for new places and possibly new communities for deep disposal.
- The problems the country already has with radioactive waste are difficult enough and will only be compounded if new reactors are built extending the timescales for implementation for very long, unknowable periods in the future. In the year 2200 spent fuel from Hinkley Point C alone will contain about 80% of the radioactivity contained in waste that exists today.” (our emphasis).
This makes coal mine boss Mark Kirkbride’s and CoRWMs vision of closure of a GDF by 100+ out by an enormous factor. Especially as the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management are promoting ever more new nuclear build at the same time as telling the public that there is an urgency to find a deep nuclear dump site despite not one deep nuclear dump site operating anywhere in the world for the kind of heat generating nuclear wastes being proposed to be dumped by CoRWM. CoRWM and RWM are NOT safe custodians of nuclear waste -the fact that this talk was given by the Cumbria coal mine boss appointed on behalf of Government to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management is Outrageous.
Where are the outraged headlines from NGOs and Investigative Journalists?