[ RadSafe ] Article Nuclear waste should be buried in the UK

Dawson, Fred Mr Fred.Dawson199 at mod.uk
Fri Apr 28 07:31:06 CDT 2006

27 April 2006

Recommendations include geological disposal with robust interim storage until sites are identified and prepared.
The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) has today announced an integrated package of draft recommendations for the long-term management of the UK's radioactive waste.
The series of recommendations - which the Committee regards as interdependent - envisages that, in the long term, radioactive waste will be  disposed of deep underground, an option known as geological disposal.  It recognises, however, that the process leading to the creation of suitable facilities for disposal may take several decades and should therefore be underpinned by robust interim storage.  The location of sites is not part of the CoRWM remit, but the Committee believes that host communities should be identified on the basis of a willingness to participate and an equal partnership approach to decision-making.
At a meeting in Brighton, the independent Committee agreed that the Government should move as quickly as possible to implement its recommendations once they are finalised by the end of July. The facility or facilities would be located several hundred metres underground, making use of the surrounding rock as well as specially engineered structures to protect the environment.  Around one third of the land in the UK could be geologically suitable for this purpose.
Experience suggests that the development of a disposal facility could take several decades or possibly one or two generations. CoRWM also believes that there needs to be a contingency in the event of any technical problems that emerge during design or construction, or any delays arising from social or ethical challenges related to finding a host community. For these reasons, the Committee also believes that the interim storage facilities available must be robust enough to house waste for a significant period of time before it can be transferred into an underground repository.
The Committee's draft recommendations argue that to identify a site for geological disposal the Government will need to secure from potential host communities a willingness to participate and that it should offer a package of measures to support participation.  It calls for a partnership approach to working with local communities with the right to withdraw from the process and the eventual decisions subject to the ratification of the relevant elected bodies.
The Committee has reached its draft recommendations after an exhaustive three year process that has examined the technical, scientific, ethical and social aspects of all the potential options. It has consulted with over 200 technical experts and listened hard to the views of thousands of members of the public and key stakeholders.
The recommendations will now be subject to further consultation with interested parties before CoRWM delivers its final report to Defra, and the devolved administrations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in July 2006. The recommendations apply to the estimated 470,000 cubic metres of waste that currently exist or will arise through decommissioning of current nuclear sites.  CORWM has no position on the desirability or otherwise of nuclear new build.
Gordon MacKerron, Chairman of CoRWM said:
"For 50 years the UK has been creating radioactive waste, without any clear idea of what to do with it. Whether we like it or not waste exists and we have to deal with it.
"Our draft recommendations arise from a unique three year process, which has combined both good science with the need to engage the public and stakeholders to inspire confidence, as well as taking into account our ethical responsibilities, especially to future generations.
"The result is a roadmap for the Government to create a workable and deliverable solution.  The Committee has confidence that geological disposal is the best end point for managing our waste. It is the option that should perform best in terms of security, protecting the public and the environment. It is also the most fair it means taking action now over the waste we have created and not leaving it to future generations to deal with.
"However, there are important steps to go through before a facility is built. The key decisions must involve potential host communities and they should have an equal footing in all relevant decision making."
For further information, please call Adam Lewis 07740 486728, Ben Rich 07713 509134 or Bridget Hargreave 07710 348637, or Alex Burnett or Dan Mosley on 0207 618 9187 or email corwm at luther.co.uk.
A full press pack and further details of the draft recommendations can be found at www.corwm.org.uk.
Note to editors
About CoRWM
The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) is an independent committee appointed in 2003 by the UK Government and devolved administrations for Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland.  Its task is to review the options for managing the estimated 470,000 cubic metres of radioactive wastes for which there is currently no agreed long-term management solution. CoRWM is also considering the implications for waste management if plutonium and uranium were to be treated as wastes, and of managing spent fuel without reprocessing.  CoRWM has been asked to consult and to make final recommendations to the UK Government in July 2006.  Future decisions and policies will be made by the UK Government.
Professor Gordon MacKerron is the Chair of the Committee.
The other members of the Committee are:
* Dr Wynne Davies (Deputy Chair)
* Mary Allan
* Fred Barker
* Professor Andrew Blowers
* Professor Brian D. Clark
* Dr Mark Dutton
* Colonel Fiona Walthall OBE
* Professor Lynda Warren
* Jenny Watson
* Pete Wilkinson 


Fred Dawson
Health Physics Assistant Director & Team Leader
Directorate of Safety & Claims
6-D-30 MOD Main Building
phone   (9621) 70215 MB
               020 7807 0215
mobile   07 973 169 338
email     dsc-hpad at mod.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf Of John Jacobus
Sent: 28 April 2006 13:09
To: radsafe; know_nukes at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Article: Nuclear waste should be buried in the UK

The following appeared on PhysicWeb at

Nuclear waste should be buried
27 April 2006

After three years of deliberation, a
government-commissioned inquiry has concluded that the
UK should bury its nuclear waste deep underground. The
Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) laid
out its solution to the decades-old waste problem in a
press conference held today. But it told reporters
that because it will take many years to dispose of the
waste in this way, the construction of a permanent
repository must be complemented by a robust system of
interim storage.

CoRWM was appointed in 2003 to recommend what to do
with the roughly 470,000 cubic metres of waste in the
UK for which there is no agreed long-term disposal
strategy. This includes both existing waste and waste
that will be generated over the next few decades. 

The 11-strong committee, which is made up of both
scientists and non scientists, is chaired by economist
Gordon MacKerron. Last year, after discarding more
exotic solutions such as sending the waste into space
or putting it at the bottom of the sea, the panel drew
up a shortlist of four options. These included two
types of "geological disposal" in which the waste is
buried several hundred metres underground -- in either
a sealed repository or one from which the waste can be
retrieved for up to several hundred years after it is
put in the ground. The other two options were
continuous temporary storage just above or below the
Earth's surface and the burial of waste just below the

The committee has now discounted the last two options,
preferring instead geological disposal. But it says
that this approach must be complemented by secure
interim storage, pointing out that a repository might
not be ready for perhaps 50 years if there are
technical difficulties in developing the repository or
objections from the local community. 

However, CoRWM has not stated which type of geological
disposal should be used. In fact, it has yet to decide
whether or not it will state a preference in its final
report, which it is due to release in July. It has
also not said where the geological repository should
be located -- this was not part of its remit -- but it
believes that no matter where the dump is located it
must have the blessing of the local residents. "The
key decisions must involve potential host communities
and they should have an equal footing in all relevant
decision making," says MacKerron. 

The committee says that in reaching its decisions it
has examined the technical, scientific, ethical and
social aspects of all the potential options, having
consulted over 200 technical experts and listened to
thousands of members of the public and other people
with an interest in the plans. But the panel has not
had a smooth ride. Last year, one of its members,
Keith Baverstock, was dismissed from the group and
another, David Ball, walked out. Ball reportedly
became disenchanted with what he saw as the panel's
emphasis of public consultation over expert advice.

"A scientist's aim in a discussion with his colleagues is not to persuade, but to clarify." 
Leo Szilard
-- John
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail:  crispy_bird at yahoo.com

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