Workers from Sellafield are urging Cumbrian local authorities not to back away from the next stage of feasibility studies into a geological disposal facility for radioactive waste in west Cumbria.
On 30 January, three Cumbrian local authorities Allerdale, Copeland and Cumbria county councils will decide whether or not to proceed to stage four of investigations into the feasibility of a site in west Cumbria.
Ahead of this crunch decision, the arguments for and against a geological disposal facility for radioactive waste in west Cumbria will be debated by local MPs, scientists, nuclear workers and industry leaders at a seminar taking place in Carlisle tomorrow (25 January).
Britain has been searching for a national waste repository for over 30 years. The public should be shocked that it is taking so long to find a way to deal with this material. The Sellafield workforce have the responsibility of looking after most of that waste. Understandably, they don’t want another 30 years of drift and delay.
There are around 12,000 jobs at Sellafield, with thousands more in the local supply chain. The industry is hugely important to the local economy and provides highly skilled, well paid employment.
The next stage of the feasibility study involves experts conducting geological studies from their desks. It will involve an inventory of what waste Britain has and then there will be discussions between the council and the government over a social and economic benefits package. There will be no digging, there will be no sub-surface work; or any boreholes, if the councils vote 'yes' to proceed to stage four.
Kevin Coyne, Unite national officer and chair of Trade Unions for Safe Nuclear Energy, said:
“The people of Cumbria will not be making any commitments to a geological disposal facility by agreeing to continue with this study. What the workers at Sellafield want is a full and proper investigation into the feasibility of such a facility in Cumbria. Only then can we consider how best to proceed.
"Britain has been searching for a national waste repository for over 30 years. In the meantime Sellafield workers have the responsibility of looking after most of this radioactive waste. It is not going to go away. Good science needs to prevail in order for Cumbria and the rest of the UK to resolve how we deal with this important issue."
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.