Safe nuclear waste disposal

Unite welcomes publication of Geological Disposal Facility report

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Unite has welcomed the publication of the annual Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) report.

Scientists around the world agree that a GDF – which will contain nuclear waste deep underground in highly engineered vaults and tunnels – will keep it safe and secure over the hundreds of thousands of years it will take for the radioactivity to naturally decay. 

As a nationally significant infrastructure project which will span decades, a GDF will also provide a unique opportunity to sustainably boost the economy of the region where it is located.

The GDF annual report outlines progress of the nationwide programme. Among the highlights are the formation of Community Partnerships in Mid Copeland, South Copeland, and Allerdale, Cumbria, and a Working Group in Theddlethorpe, Lincolnshire. 

These developments provide platforms for early engagement about a GDF.

The report also provides comprehensive information about the potential overall cost for a GDF, ranging from £20-£53 billion depending on a range of factors, such as the specific location, how much and what sort of materials goes into it, and geology. These costs will be spread over the lifetime of the 100-plus year project.

Representing one of the country’s largest infrastructure investments, a highly engineered GDF will provide the highest levels of safety, security, and protection for generations, disposing of hazardous UK radioactive waste that has been accumulating for more than 60 years.

Convenor of Unite’s environment taskforce and chair of Trade Unionists for Safe Nuclear Energy (TUSNE), Jim Mowat, said: “TUSNE recognises the huge significance of projects like a Geological Disposal Facility for future environmental protection and long-term economic development. 

“Building a GDF to deal with higher activity nuclear waste will be a major infrastructure development, offering high-quality long-term jobs and skills and investment in communities. We welcome the progress that is being made in delivering this important national project.”

Nuclear Waste Services deputy CEO, Karen Wheeler, said: “A GDF will be one of the biggest infrastructure programmes in the UK and provide a major investment for the host local community and its economy, as well as being a vital project for the UK.

“It is about acting now to deliver for future generations, an essential solution to radioactive waste which will protect our environment, boost our economy, and invest in local communities.”

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