Government seeks storage system for nuclear waste
A consultation has been launched as the Government examines possible sites for an underground storage system for nuclear waste.
The public is being asked its views on potential sites identified to store waste which could retain levels of radioactivity for centuries.
The waste would include parts of obsolete nuclear submarines cut up at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth as well as material from other sources.
The storage would be used to dispose of higher activity radioactive waste.
Buy one get one free on main course and specials excludes fillet steaks and beef wellingtons
Must book to qualify and present voucher on arrival 01209860332
Contact: 01209 700617
Valid until: Wednesday, December 11 2013
The Government needs to find a permanent solution for dealing with existing leftover waste, and waste from new nuclear power stations.
A consultation launched yesterday follows a setback for the Government at the beginning of the year when Cumbria County Council vetoed plans for a giant underground complex of nuclear storage vaults.
Last year Kent also backed away from the process after protests from local people.
Nuclear waste, which can remain radioactive for 100,000 years, will be stored in canisters up to 1,000 metres underground.
Department of Energy and Climate Change officials said that the waste stored would include so-called intermediate level waste and irradiated fuel, plus any low level waste not suitable for disposal elsewhere, from the defence programme.
"Safety is of paramount importance, and waste and material will only be disposed of in a geological disposal facility if the independent regulators are satisfied that it will be safe to do so," the officials said.
"It is currently forecast that it will take approximately 27 years for a geological disposal facility to be operational from the point at which an interested community enters the 'Learning' phase."
Officials said the timing was approximate because communities would be volunteering and the process "will progress at the pace that any community involved in it is comfortable with".
They said that no particular part of the country was being looked at. "We continue to favour an approach to selecting a site based on the principles of voluntarism and working in partnership with interested local communities.
"A revised national site selection process should enable potential host communities from across the country to come forward and find out more about what a GDF could mean for their area on an equal basis."
The carrot for interested communities is the high level of employment that would be generated. A 15-year construction at its height would employ 1,000 workers, according to consultation documents.
Plymouth City Council said: "We are aware of the consultation. We are glad to see the Government is moving forward with this important issue."
The Ministry of Defence did not respond to a request for comment.