Wales Nuclear Forum: Industry News, keeping you informed of important updates and informative information in the sector.

Community invited to virtual GDF exhibition

A virtual exhibition is now available for Cumbrian residents interested in finding out more about potentially hosting a GDF.

The interactive experience takes visitors to a space with display panels, videos and 360o experience of an underground disposal facility. It has been shared through the Copeland Working Group established last November by local interested parties.

In light of ongoing COVID constraints, the group is focusing on digital channels as it embarks on a programme of activities to understand the views of local people, seek information and identify a search area where geological investigations could be carried out.

We are working alongside working groups to provide factual information about geological disposal and the consent-based process to find a suitable site in England or Wales.

Our Director of Community Engagement and Siting, Simon Hughes, said: “A suitable location for a Geological Disposal Facility will be identified through a consent-based process, led by RWM coordinating Government and its agencies working in partnership with communities. It is underpinned by the consent of a community and ensuring that everyone with an interest has the opportunity to learn about the project to make an informed decision.

During the restrictions placed on us in the pandemic, where we are unable to meet Working Group members or local people individually, the virtual exhibition provides a great resource for people to learn more about GDF, how the siting process works, and how to get involved. It is a starting point rather than a fully comprehensive consideration of all aspects of geological disposal. When the restrictions ease and it is safe to do so, we hope to support the Working Group at events in and around Copeland.”

Copeland Working Group was the first to express an interest in exploring the impact of potentially hosting a deep geological disposal facility (GDF) where the UK’s higher-activity radioactive waste will be disposed of, in line with government policy. Earlier this month, Allerdale Working Group was also established in the neighbouring area and will begin a similar programme of local engagement.

The process is based on finding both a willing community and geology that is suitable for excavating a series of tunnels and vaults up to 1,000 metres deep. Stable rock formations, robust waste packaging and surrounding buffer material together form a series of safe, secure barriers for the UK’s radioactive waste, accumulated through decades of electricity generation, national defence, medical, industrial and research uses.

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