Why Hasn’t Oxfordshire Been Given the Opportunity to Store(Dump) Nuclear Waste

Letter published in the News and Star 23rd January 2022

News and Star – Letter

OXFORDSHIRE is home to a government body lavishing millions of pounds on small villages and towns in Cumbria. These pretty villages on the Lakeland fringe, such as Beckermet and Gosforth, have been signed up to a “Community Partnership” for the “biggest environmental project in the UK”.

The project is looking for large geological areas of solid chalk, clay, granite and such like, in which to very carefully emplace the UK’s heat-generating nuclear wastes. It seems unfair on the people of Oxfordshire that they have not been properly alerted to the “fantastic opportunities” hosting a deep Geological Disposal Facility can offer to their communities.

Oxfordshire-based Radioactive Waste Management must have come to the conclusion that the teeth in this gift horse are rotten. Otherwise, surely to goodness RWM’s home turf, with its large areas of chalk and clay geology and equally pretty villages, would have been first in the running for this marvelous opportunity to host a deep hot nuclear dump.

Marianne Birkby Lakes Against Nuclear Dump (a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign)

Sample of comments below

Billy Green Teeth23rd January 7:35 am

Love the hilarious reverse-take this letter offers. I was interested in the ‘decay heat’ aspect of radioactive waste as I had never considered this as an additional hazard to the well known problems of the emissions themselves. I found this summary after a little background reading: ‘AECL (the Canadian nuclear Authority) has produced graphs showing how the decay heat from buried spent fuel will heat up the underground rock formations, which will finally return to their “ambient level” of temperature after about 50,000 years.’ Just think about that – 50k years is a long time! Last Updated: 5 hrs ago

Carlisle Lass23rd January 9:24 am

Brilliant letter highlighting the disingenuous nature of RWMs repeated offers and the hypocrisy of their words. The geology in Cumbria is unsuitable and pursuing investigations into constructing a GDF here is not about managing radioactive waste ‘safely’ but ‘quietly’ with least resistance. Resist. Last Updated: 5 hrs ago

Northern Sense23rd January 9:56 am

Great letter from Marianne – it would be nice to think that sarcasm could cut through where common sense can’t, but I’m not holding my breath. I note that the owner of the News and Star/Times and Star/Cumberland News also owns the Oxford News and Mail, so it would aid open debate if Marianne’s letter was published there as well but again not holding my breath. (Just checked online and no sign of it! – a case of knowing your audience?) Oxford is of course a key player in the ‘do as we say, not as we do’ governance system that passes for democratic accuntability in England. Radioactive Waste Management is effectively a government cover organisation – from a Westminster perspective locating it in Oxford may be considered as a contribution to Levelling Up the North and Midlands. My preferred location for the dump/store remains under Thetford Forest – clays almost as good as those under London and with the advantage of having a population of less than a dozen as opposed to the 8 million voters in London. Using Community Partnership funding to buy each of them a Carribean island would work out far cheaper than bribing tens of thousands of people in West Cumbria over a decade or more. But again not holding my breath. BTW ‘decay heat’ is one of the main reasons why burial in/below clays is key – heat causes expansion, including of waste containers and storage tunnels. Expansion causes fracturing. Fractures allow escape. Clays under pressure from overburden is the only natural geology capable of self-healing/repair without human intervention, and human intervention will be impossible once the GDF is filled and sealed off in the hope of being forgotten. Last Updated: 5 hrs ago

Purple Ron23rd January 6:59 pm

One thought on “Why Hasn’t Oxfordshire Been Given the Opportunity to Store(Dump) Nuclear Waste

  1. spectric

    From the governments perspective they will be looking for an easy option, west cumbria is already biased towards nuclear along with it’s MP’s and compared to Oxfordshire and many other regions down south is a very deprived region that will be more open to bribery and persuasion, not to mention a long history of working underground. It does show that there may be little substance in the government claims of so called “levelling up” if they believe that all we are capable of is going back in time and digging a hole in which to dump toxic radioactive waste. This in my opinion shows they do not think we are inteligent enough to host the renewable industries of the future but then they are dumb enough to believe there is a future for nuclear.

    Oxfordshire would be a very hard place to sell the idea that having nuclear waste burried under them is a good idea, to much wealth and influential people even though the geology is probably a lot more suitable than the complex gelogy of Cumbria with high underground water flows.

    In the next election we all need to vote for a party that is not nuclear biased, this current one has not only endorsed nuclear in the UK but wants to expand it to Australia and increase the UK’s stockpile of warheads all whilst poking a world nuclear superpower with a s—–y stick.

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