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The new Minister for Energy and Climate change, Baroness Verma has visited the Sellafield plant in Cumbria.
She called for a continued and strong focus on decommissioning at the nuclear site and praised the dedication and professionalism of the workforce there.
The Minster also met with Cumbria council leaders to discuss the siting process for a geological disposal facility for nuclear waste. Baroness Verma said that finding a long term solution for dealing with the legacy of nuclear waste was vital for Cumbria:
– Baroness Verma
“It has been extremely valuable to discuss with councillors in Cumbria the work that has already been done on the issue of siting a geological disposal facility, including the recent report by the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) partnership.
“In light of Cumbria councillors’ move to defer a decision on whether to take part in the next stage of the process, I want to be clear that Government remains completely committed to a community-led and voluntarist approach. We will also work closely with the councils to provide the information and clarification they need.”
She explained how useful her visit to the Sellafield plant had been adding:
– Baroness Verma
“Visiting Sellafield really does drive home the sheer scale and size of the challenge posed by our nuclear legacy, and why we must continue to focus relentlessly on our world-leading decommissioning efforts.
“Decommissioning and cleaning up the site will take many decades, but I am very encouraged by the progress being made and the dedication and professionalism of everyone at the site.”
Councillors in Cumbria are set to discuss whether the county should host an underground nuclear waste store at a meeting in Kendal later this morning.
The county's cabinet members will decide in October whether to put west Cumbria forward to the next stage of the process and look for a site.
The government asked for communities to volunteer areas to come forward to discuss burying waste, west Cumbria has declared an interest but it will be decades before building work gets underway.
A report that could ultimately lead to nuclear waste being buried in Cumbria has been approved by a group that has been exploring the issues involved. West Cumbria's Radioactive Waste Partnership has spent today debating a final draft of the report at a hotel near Workington.
A report that could ultimately lead to nuclear waste being buried in Cumbria has been approved by a group that has been exploring all the issues.
West Cumbria's Radioactive Waste Partnership has spent most of today debating a final draft of the report at a hotel near Workington. Kim Inglis explains the background to the story
The final meeting of the group set up to look into the implications of an underground nuclear waste store in west Cumbria is set to take place today.
For three years representatives from councils and communities group across Cumbria have been looking into the issue.
Today their final report will be signed off.The report will go to the three councils of Allerdale, Copeland and the county council who will decide in the autumn whether the area should go through to the next stage and look for a site.
The report will set out the opinions of the Managing Radio Waste Safely Partnership on a range of issues related to whether the area should take part in the Government’s search, and additional advice to the councils.
These include issues such as safety, geology, inventory and community benefits, and the right of withdrawal. A spokesman for the MRWS said:
"Partnership members have already taken part in two workshops and two full Partnership meetings to go through the views expressed by the public and stakeholders, and consider how the Partnership’s initial views should be changed as a result.
*"This has led to significant changes to the Partnership’s emerging Final Report including: *
"Ensuring that if the process continues funding is available for full independent review of technical work on behalf of ***the community, strengthening commitments from Government on community benefits and requesting the process is put on a legally-binding basis." *
The final report on the process of building an underground nuclear storage facility in or around Cumbria is being drafted today.
Allerdale Borough Council, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council will use the information to decide whether or not to take part in the search for a possible site for the nuclear waste.
The idea would involve moving some of the enormous amounts of nuclear waste at Sellafield to underground sites to be stored for hundreds of years.