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Cumberland News 20.09.13

Posted by Sarah Betsworth, Friday, 20th September 2013 @ 7:26pm

NUCLEAR STORE: COPELAND AND ALLERDALE TO TAKE TIME TO CONSIDER GOVT'S PROPOSALS

Posted by Sarah Betsworth, Saturday, 14th September 2013 @ 10:01am

  • NUCLEAR STORE: COPELAND AND ALLERDALE TO TAKE TIME TO CONSIDER GOVT'S PROPOSALS

    By Jenny Barwise

    Last updated at 17:51, Friday, 13 September 2013

    Nuclear workers hope a change that sidelines the county council will pave the way to create a massive underground atomic waste store in west Cumbria.

    Stewart Young photo

    Stewart Young

    The authority stopped Cumbria being considered as the site of a huge store for high-level radioactive material earlier this year – despite Allerdale and Copeland councils both wanting to stay in the process.

    But its right to say no could be removed if a new Government process comes into force which would give district authorities the final say.

    Plans were revealed yesterday by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, which launched a nationwide consultation on a revised process to find a site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

    The Government wants to give powers to district councils – such as Copeland and Allerdale – which would be the representative authority. This would mean that only these councils would have the powers to withdraw from the process as well as having the final say on whether the community should volunteer to host the facility.

    The county council would have only an “advisory” role as part of a Consultative Partnership board.

    All the councils affected are playing their cards close to their chests following confirmation of the consultation yesterday. In similar statements Copeland and Allerdale said the future of radioactive waste storage and disposal was of “great interest” to their areas.

    Both said they would be taking their time to consider the Government’s proposals before responding.

    But groups representing atomic industry workers have welcomed the development.

    Craig Dobson, of the Sellafield Workers’ Campaign, said: “It’s imperative that the drift and delay of the last 30 years is not allowed to continue.

    “The announcement of this new consultation so soon after the last process failed to find a suitable site is encouraging because there was always the risk that this could have been kicked into the long grass.”

    GMB Union national officer Gary Smith argues Sellafield should be at the centre of any new development, adding: “The best long-term solution is to manage the waste at Sellafield.

    “However, our support for a repository at Sellafield wouldn’t be unconditional. We aren’t going to support turning Sellafield into a nuclear graveyard and nuclear dump.”

    Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of Prospect, said: “Investigations into the suitability of a site in Cumbria were terminated prematurely earlier this year in a blow to the industry. I hope we can learn the lessons of that process and ensure that the Government clearly states the benefits and support any host community will receive.”

    Eddie Martin, the man who led the county council when it ruled Cumbria out of the last stage, today described any prospect of the authority’s right to veto being removed as an “affront to democracy”.

    He told the News & Star: “To remove the input of the county council is, in my view, foolish.”

    Energy Minister Baroness Verma has, however, insisted the county will still have a “significant role” to play, adding: “The county council would still hold the controls over planning.”

    She said hosting a site would bring lasting economic benefits with jobs, opportunities for businesses, and a “generous” benefits package to support the community.

    As part of the revised process, which the three-month consultation covers, communities would be provided with more information at an earlier stage in the process; a positive community-wide demonstration of support would be required before a community could host a GDF; and communities would have an on-going right to withdraw.

    Copeland MP Jamie Reed said that had this process been in place when the county council failed to back the two districts in January, the wishes of Allerdale and Copeland would have “been respected”.

    He welcomed the launch of the consultation, saying managing radioactive waste safely is one of the “most important” environmental and economic challenges facing the country and the community, adding it was “morally indefensible” to leave the problem for future generations to solve.

    Cumbria County Council has said it will be “responding fully” to the new proposals in due course.

    Current leader Stewart Young, a member of the pervious cabinet under Mr Martin, said the authority expressed its concerns about the earlier process when the cabinet decided not to proceed to the next stage.

    He said: “Those concerns included uncertainty on the right for communities to bring the process to a halt if they are not happy, a complete lack of detail about the timing and quantum of any community benefits package, and the lack of a ‘plan B’ for more robust interim surface storage plans for the high-level radioactive waste currently kept at Sellafield.

    “We will be looking closely at these revised proposals to see whether our concerns have been addressed.”

    The process to select a site would vary according to the specific needs of the community, but could take about 15 years, with construction a further 15 years, the Government has said.

    Bruce McKirdy, managing director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Radioactive Waste Management Directorate, said: “As the body responsible for the design, development and delivery of a geological disposal facility, we look forward to working with communities, stakeholders and the Government to take responsibility for our past.”

    Consultation on the Government’s new approach runs until December 15, with the re-launch of the national site selection process next year.

    First published at 17:50, Friday, 13 September 2013
    Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk

     

Lake District threatened by nuclear waste again

Posted by Sarah Betsworth, Saturday, 14th September 2013 @ 9:58am

  • Lake District threatened by nuclear waste again

     

    Controversial plans for toxic dumping back on table eight months after being rejected

    TOM BAWDEN Author Biography

    ENVIRONMENT EDITOR

    FRIDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2013

         
             

    http://www.independent.co.uk/skins/ind/gfx/slideshow/classic-map.png); ;

    Controversial plans to bury highly toxic nuclear waste under the Lake District are back on the table just eight months after being conclusively rejected.

    The proposals were dismissed by Cumbria County Council in January – but now the Government has enraged opponents by proposing to switch the final say to the district council.

    The county council’s decision to abandon plans for the underground radioactive wastage storage centre  near Sellafield was a major blow to government ambitions to build new nuclear power plants. Cumbria had been the only area to show an interest in storing such waste.

    But a new consultation launched by the Government could sidestep the problem, by shifting the final say on whether an area can house a deep storage facility for nuclear waste from the county to the district council.

    Cumbria County Council voted by more than 2 to 1 to pull out of feasibility studies into such a facility, following expert critiques of the fractured local geology and an international outcry over the threat to the Western Lake District. That vote over-ruled votes by the local Copeland and Allerdale District Councils to proceed.

    The Government is selling its proposed change to the voting rule on the basis that it “represents an additional layer of consent – giving local communities the opportunity to decide whether or not they wise to proceed with the development of a GDF [geological disposal facility]”.

    Geoff Betsworth, a local activist, disagrees. “It is a shock. It is undermining democracy to remove a layer of government in Cumbria county council. It is Orwellian and they will push it through regardless.”

    The consultation also pledges to increase the incentives for local communities to host nuclear waste storage facilities and to enshrine the “right to withdraw” from the project at a later stage. Cumbria councillors cited the fear of being locked into a binding process as one of the main reasons for voting to pull out before geological studies began.

    The proposed £12bn Cumbria storage site would create 1,000 construction jobs and 500 full-time jobs. A kilometre underground and the size of Carlisle, it would open for storage by 2047 and hold dangerous material for 100,000 years.

    Jamie Reed, the Labour MP for Copeland, said he expected several districts to volunteer in Cumbria as well as in other areas that hadn’t previously shown any interest. “If you look at the strong support in the area, I would think Copeland will have a look again. I would expect communities in Kent, Cornwall and Wales to look as well. I think lessons from the previous debacle have been learnt.”

    Elaine Woodburn, leader of the Copeland Council, suggested that her district council might have a stronger incentive than most to host the facility because it was in its interest to ensure the waste was properly disposed of.

    A spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: “This would have a profound and long-term positive economic impact on the area selected for the site, stimulating local businesses, supply chains and providing skilled jobs and training opportunities.”

NUCLEAR REPOSITORY CONSULTATION REJECTED BY CUMBRIA BACK ON

Posted by Sarah Betsworth, Friday, 13th September 2013 @ 11:41am

  • NUCLEAR REPOSITORY CONSULTATION REJECTED BY CUMBRIA BACK ON

    Last updated at 08:39, Friday, 13 September 2013

    Government yesterday launched a consultation on a revised process for working with communities in order to agree a site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) after the plans were rejected in Cumbria this year.

    The multi-billion pound facility would be used to dispose of higher activity radioactive waste safely underground. This would provide a permanent solution for the disposal of existing legacy waste, and waste from new nuclear power stations.

    Under the new approach, which Government is consulting on from today, communities would be provided with more information at an earlier stage in the process; a positive community-wide demonstration of support would be required before a community could host a GDF; and communities would have an on-going right to withdraw from the process.

    The multi-billion pound infrastructure initiative could provide skilled employment for many thousands of people over its lifetime. Over 1,000 people would be employed on the site during its construction, with over 500 staff employed on average each year over the 100 year life of the facility.

    This would have a profound and long-term positive economic impact on the area selected for the site, stimulating local businesses, supply-chains, and providing skilled jobs and training opportunities.

    Government will provide a generous community benefits package, potentially through a community fund, to ensure that the strategic national importance of the project is properly reflected at local level.

    Copeland MP Jamie Reed welcomed the announcement.

    He said: "Managing radioactive waste safely is one of the most important environmental and economic challenges facing this country and our community. It is morally indefensible to leave this problem for future generations to solve.

    "This is a national process - not one centred solely upon West Cumbria and I expect other interested areas to come forward.

    "The Department of Energy & Climate Change has learned from the previous process and has listened closely to the West Cumbrian Community and the Sellafield workforce. I hope that there is widespread engagement with this consultation and I'm sure that there will be: wherever a GDF is ultimately sited, this is the most important issue facing West Cumbria.

    "Nuclear generation is the only form of electricity production determined to manage the waste products it creates. It's strategically essential for the UK and a vitally important part of West Cumbria's future."

    Baroness Verma said: “Geological disposal is the right approach for the long-term, safe and secure management of the UK’s higher activity radioactive waste.

    “Hosting a site would bring lasting economic benefits with jobs, opportunities for businesses, and a generous benefits package to support the community.

    “We want to make sure those benefits are well understood and supported by all those in the area surrounding any host community.”

    Bruce McKirdy, Managing Director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Radioactive Waste Management Directorate said:

    “For more than 50 years, we have all benefited from the use of clean and secure nuclear energy, but we have not successfully addressed the long term disposal of higher activity radioactive waste. Geological disposal is an internationally recognised technically sound solution for higher activity waste to protect people and our environment.

    “As the body responsible for the design, development and delivery of a geological disposal facility, we look forward to working with communities, stakeholders and the Government to take responsibility for our past and avoid passing the burden of legacy waste to future generations.”

    The process to select a site would vary according to the specific needs of the community, but could take around 15 years, with construction taking a further 15 years.

    The Government continues to believe that geological disposal, preceded by safe and secure interim storage, is the right policy for the long-term management of higher activity radioactive waste.

    Throughout the revised process being consulted on, communities would be represented by the most local competent authority, (the District Council or unitary authority in England, or relevant equivalent in Wales or Northern Ireland), who would have the right to withdraw the community from the siting process.

    Given the scale and national importance of the GDF, Government proposes bringing it within the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project planning regime, as set out in the Planning Act 2008.

    Government will consult on this new approach from 12 September to 5 December, and will then re-launch the national site selection process in 2014. As part of the consultation, a series of events will be run across the country with the public and interested parties.

    First published at 09:51, Thursday, 12 September 2013
    Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk

Communities to be represented by local authority

Posted by Sarah Betsworth, Friday, 13th September 2013 @ 11:34am

  • Communities to be represented by local authority

    Last updated Fri 13 Sep 2013

    The Government has announced that it wants to change the planning rules surrounding whether an underground nuclear nuclear waste could be built in Cumbria.

    The last search for a site came to and end in January after Cumbria County Councillors voted not to pursue the idea.

    That was despite district councillors in Copeland and Allerdale wanting to continue the investigation into whether west Cumbria would be a suitable location.

    The issue has now come back onto the agenda with a consultation being launched that could lead to Cumbria being looked at again.

    "Throughout the revised process being consulted on, communities would be represented by the most local competent authority, (the District Council or unitary authority in England)."

    – GOVERNMENT STATEMENT

    Under the revised process it could be left up to district councils or unitary authorities to decide whether the area wants an underground store.

    The Government wants to start a new selection process in 2014.

Copeland MP welcomes nuclear waste consultation

Posted by Sarah Betsworth, Friday, 13th September 2013 @ 11:31am

  • 11:35AM, THU 12 SEP 2013 NUCLEAR SITE PLANNING CHANGES

    Copeland MP welcomes nuclear waste consultation

    Last updated Fri 13 Sep 2013

    • Copeland MP Jamie Reed has welcomed the launch of a consultation on the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely siting process:

    "Managing radioactive waste safely is one of the most important environmental and economic challenges facing this country and our community. It is morally indefensible to leave this problem for future generations to solve.

    "This is a national process - not one centred solely upon West Cumbria and I expect other interested areas to come forward.

    "The Department of Energy & Climate Change has learned from the previous process and has listened closely to the West Cumbrian Community and the Sellafield workforce.

    "I hope that there is widespread engagement with this consultation and I'm sure that there will be: wherever a GDF is ultimately sited, this is the most important issue facing West Cumbria.

    "Nuclear generation is the only form of electricity production determined to manage the waste products it creates. It's strategically essential for the UK and a vitally important part of West Cumbria's future."

    – JAMIE REED MP, COPELAND

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