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Nuclear Strategy Needed For Sellafield

Thursday, September 12, 2013

GMB Says The Best Long-Term Solution Is To Manage Nuclear Waste At Sellafield As Government Announces Consultation To Find Site

If the current consultation is successful then government should start talking to union about a proper strategy for the nuclear industry in the UK with Sellafield at its centre says GMB.

GMB, the union for nuclear industry workers, commented on the announcement today (12th September) of the launch of a public consultation on the site selection process for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) for higher activity radioactive waste, as part of the Managing Radioactive Safely (MRWS) programme. See notes to editors for announcement by Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for Energy and Chris Jukes GMB Regional Officer said “GMB agrees that we need a solution to the long-term storage for long-term waste in order to retain public support for the industry. It is crucial that we get a solution to allow nuclear new build to happen too. Nuclear new build is crucial in terms of keeping the lights on, job creation and crucially tackling climate change.

We broadly welcome the government's new consultation. This gives them the chance to put right their shambolic performance during the previous consultation process whilst addressing this crucial issue.

Whilst fully respecting the fact that there needs to be a proper consultation process, GMB has always believed we also need to be honest with the public. The best long-term solution is to manage the waste at Sellafield. The site has great skills and experience. The local community are supportive of the nuclear industry too. Local people know the economic benefits the industry brings to West Cumbria.

However, we have been very clear with the NDA, 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. If the current consultation is successful and if we can get to the next stage of a consultation process then we want government to start talking to us about a proper strategy for the nuclear industry in the UK, with Sellafield at its centre. It is imperative that the NDA and Government stop trying to kick the can down the road and lead the community and workforce by the nose, we want concrete plans for the future of the Sellafield site.

Sellafield could be a huge asset for the country with the right startegic plan and leadership”

End

Contact: Gary Smith  07710 618 909 or Chris Jukes 07870 176 733 or 0191 233 3930 or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921 289880

Notes to editors

Copy of DECC announcement 12 September 2013.

Dear Stakeholder

We are pleased to announce today the launch of a public consultation on the site selection process for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) for higher activity radioactive waste, as part of the Managing Radioactive Safely (MRWS) programme. The consultation aims to gather views on how aspects of the siting process could be revised and improved.

The consultation follows a Call for Evidence earlier in the year, which ran from May to June. The evidence obtained from this, as well as information gathered from direct engagement with stakeholders and international bodies, has informed the proposals in the consultation document.

The consultation document can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/geological-disposal-facility-siting-process-review

The consultation will run for three months, closing on 5 December 2013, and will include a series of deliberative events nationally with members of the public and interested parties.

For further information on this consultation, please contact:

GDF siting process consultation

Department of Energy and Climate Change

55 Whitehall

London

SW1A 2EY

Email: radioactivewaste@decc.gsi.gov.uk

Following our analysis of the responses to the consultation, we intend to re-launch the GDF site selection process in 2014.

We are of course happy to discuss with interested parties any aspects of the wider MRWS programme, and how the current consultation proposals would sit within the wider policy framework.

Kind regards,

GDF team

Office for Nuclear Development, DECC

Consultation description

UK government policy is that higher activity radioactive waste will be managed in the long term through geological disposal, coupled with safe and secure interim storage, and ongoing research and development to support its optimised implementation. The 2008 Managing Radioactive Waste Safely White Paper set out a framework for implementing geological disposal, through a site selection process based on the principles of voluntarism and partnership. This consultation document seeks views on proposals which aim to revise and improve the site selection process for a GDF, while maintaining an approach based on voluntarism and partnership.

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