Cumbria rejects underground nuclear storage dump (January 2013)

The only local authorities in the UK still involved in feasibility studies have voted against the disposal facility

Martin Wainwright
guardian.co.uk

Wednesday 30 January 2013 16.09 GMT

Government plans to undertake preliminary work on an underground storage dump for nuclear waste were rejected by Cumbria county council on Wednesday, adding a major roadblock to plans for a long term solution to the problem of nuclear waste.

The county and its western district councils Allerdale and Copeland which make up the “nuclear coast” opposite the Isle of Man were the only local authorities in the UK still involved in feasibility studies for the £12bn disposal facility.

Cumbria’s cabinet voted 7-3 against research continuing, after evidence from independent geologists that the fractured strata of the county was impossible to entrust with such dangerous material and a hazard lasting millennia. An impassioned campaign by environmentalists also raised fears for the western Lake District, winning backing from the Lake District national park authority and hundreds of influential landscape groups in the UK and overseas.

Ed Davey, the energy and climate change secretary, said the government would continue to search for an underground storage site. “We remain firmly committed to geological disposal as the right policy for the long-term, safe and secure management of radioactive waste. We also remain committed to the principles of voluntarism and a community-led approach.

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