When it comes to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the only way is Essex. Bradwell-on-Sea has been identified as a possible site to dump radioactive waste.
“Everybody was aghast when a local representative from the NDA stated that the possibility was being looked into,” Brian Beale, a district councillor for Maldon, told the Essex Chronicle. “To say this could happen when it had always been understood that Bradwell was not intended to be a site for waste, created uproar.”
Nuclear materials are already being stored at Bradwell, a former nuclear power station that closed in 2002 and is being decommissioned. The operating company, Magnox Electric, was fined £250,000 in 2009 for presiding over a radioactive leak that had gone undetected for 14 years.
An NDA report has proposed that around 280 yellow boxes of intermediate level waste could be brought from other sites to be stored there until 2040 when a permanent repository should be built. The report also mentions Berkeley, in Gloucestershire, Trawsfynydd, in Gwynedd, and Hinkley Point, in Somerset, for possible storage.
The government has long promised that the thorny question of how to store existing waste from Britain’s old nuclear plants must be settled before new power plants such as the one proposed by EDF for Hinkley are constructed.
The only location for waste is at Drigg, near Sellafield, in Cumbria, but that is only for low-level waste.
Cumbria county council rejected a permanent dump for high-level waste near the Lake District. Attempts to start a debate about a waste repositary in Shepway, Kent ,were dropped after local opposition. Most waste is kept at nuclear plants around the country.
Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace, said: “The fact is that no one wants this stuff. Neither Essex, Kent, Cumbria or anywhere and yet the government wants to create more. Crazy.”
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