Cumbria County Council has over-ruled the district councils nearest to Sellafield, which both voted to proceed with the search in their area for a suitable site to dump nuclear waste, and voted against such action.
This puts the government in a difficult position, as it has always said that a nuclear dump would be built only with the agreement of local people. If it can’t find a way of dealing with existing nuclear waste, the lunacy of building a new generation of nuclear power stations must be obvious.
The region’s [Cumbria’s] complex geology has already been rejected once. More astonishingly, 60 years of the nuclear age has yet to produce a single deep disposal site anywhere on Earth. In a process described by Prof Stuart Haszeldine, a geologist at the Universityof Edinburgh, as “mysterious and which no-one understood“, the site selected was conveniently very close to the epicentre of the UK nuclear industry at Sellafield in Cumbria. Guardian 30.1
Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee has said, “An enormous legacy of nuclear waste has been allowed to build up on the Sellafield site. Over decades, successive governments have failed to get to grips with this critical problem, to the point where the total lifetime cost of decommissioning the site has now reached £67.5 billion, and there’s no indication of when that cost will stop rising. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority believes that its decommissioning plan is credible but it has not been sufficiently tested and uncertainties remain – not least around what precisely is in the waste that lies in the legacy ponds and silos”.