Siting a Geological Disposal Facility: New DECC paper on radiactive waste disposal

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London, UK — A new White Paper sets out the UK Government’s framework for managing higher activity radioactive waste in the long term through geological disposal. The UK Government remains committed to geological disposal as the right policy for the long-term, safe and secure management of higher activity radioactive waste. This will be implemented alongside ongoing interim storage and supporting research. The White Paper contains a renewed process for siting a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

A geological disposal facility is a highly-engineered facility capable of isolating radioactive waste within multiple protective barriers, deep underground, to ensure that no harmful quantities of radioactivity ever reach the surface environment. The development of a GDF will be a major infrastructure project of national significance. It will provide a permanent solution for the UK’s existing higher activity radioactive waste (including anticipated waste from a new build programme).

To identify potential sites where a GDF could be located, the UK Government favours a voluntarist approach based on working with communities that are willing to participate in the siting process. A GDF is likely to bring significant economic benefits to a community that hosts it, in the form of long-term employment and infrastructure investment, and in the form of additional community investment that the UK Government has committed to provide.

The UK Government will also make investment available early on in the siting process for a GDF, in order to support the development of communities that engage constructively with the process to find a site (or sites). Community investment of up to one million pounds (£1m) per involved community, per year, will be made available in the early stages of the siting process. This amount of community investment would rise to up to two and a half million pounds (£2.5m) per year for the community (or communities) that progresses to the stage of intrusive, borehole investigations to assess a potentially suitable site (or sites). This funding would only continue for as long as the
community remained engaged in the process.

The full paper on  „Implementing Geological Disposal – Framework for the long-term management of higher activity
radioactive waste“ can be downloaded from gov.uk.

Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)