rory’s statement on county council nuclear repository decision

‘This was clearly a very difficult decision. I know that many supporters of the repository will be very disappointed, but I feel that this is such an important issue that the county councillors had every reason to be cautious. ‘The fundamental question here was, “would the repository have been safe”? Parts of the waste will be radioactive for more than a hundred thousand years, so this was a decision that affected unimaginable generations to come. The concrete in which we store the waste cannot be guaranteed to last. In the end the waste will be protected by the surrounding rock and soil. The French concluded that Oxfordshire clay was the safest environment in which to place a repository. This is not an option in Cumbria. Unlike other parts of Britain, we have no clay. Many people who wrote to me felt that they did not trust or understand the process. I personally believe that we should have followed the Scandinavian example and set up a new completely independent scientific body to provide a critical analysis of the geology. A key to this would have been defining clear criteria of acceptability on velocity and volume of water flow. This sounds technical but it is the key to how quickly radioactive waste would be able to surface into a living environment. There is no doubt we must find a solution to dispose nuclear waste. I cannot overemphasise the importance of independence and public trust in any future discussion.’

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