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The Welsh Government is happy to make us a dumping ground for England’s nuclear waste

24 Jul 2018 3 minute read
Nuclear waste barrels. Picture by János Korom (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Tim Richards

The Welsh Government has revealed its true colours by offering to bury radioactive waste from England and Northern Ireland in Wales.

Under the proposed scheme, communities in Wales would volunteer to store higher-activity radioactive waste in what is known as a ‘geological disposal facility’ (GDF) long-term in return for payment.

“The UK Government’s preference is for a single GDF to take waste from Wales, England and potentially Northern Ireland,” the consultation document says.

“If a GDF were to be sited within a host community in Wales it would therefore take waste from all three countries.”

Ironically, they attempt to justify this plan by quoting the Well-being of Future Generations Act!

What they have not taken on board the reality that deep burial of highly active waste would make things much more dangerous for future generations.

Their belief that highly dangerous radioactive waste is best stored in a geological disposal facility reveals their ignorance for the very simple reason that you do not “dispose” of radioactive waste.

You merely move it to somewhere deep underground and thereby create more problems than leaving it where it is.

As a long-time anti-nuclear power activist I was invited to a “stakeholder workshop” on this issue back in January 2017. It became obvious to me that they had not taken on board the reality that if nuclear waste it is buried deep underground the radioactivity can still escape through the water tables.

In fact, the concept of a “community” storing the waste is a fantasy. As I pointed out at the time, when it comes to the radiation pouring out of Fukushima the “community” affected is the whole of the Pacific Ocean.


Wales is probably the very worst place in the UK to host a geological disposal facility because one look at the long history of earthquakes in our little country and the sheer number of rivers and water tables where radioactive leaks could spread far and wide.

This would make a rational government think twice. But, unfortunately, we have got a Labour government who take their power for granted without taking any responsibility for it.

What is even more bizarre about the idea is that higher-activity radioactive waste will have to remain on site in Nuclear Power stations for at least a century more before it is safe to be moved.

They do not say anything at all about the dangers of moving higher-activity radioactive waste from elsewhere to a geological disposal facility in Wales.

Why they are now announcing that Wales would be happy to accept everyone else’s radioactive waste is not at all clear, except, perhaps to further demonstrate how happy they are to make Wales a radioactive waste dump.

Anti-Nuclear power campaigners have debated the whole question of storage of radioactive waste for decades and we have largely come to the conclusion that it should stay where it is, on-site at the Nuclear Power stations where it was created. That is the safest option.

Let’s not fall for the Nuclear establishment’s idea of deep storage as storing it out of sight equals storing it out-of-mind.

The Nuclear Power industry was Humankind’s greatest technological mistake and we should always remember it.

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