(Not) Going Underground

BBC News – Cumbria nuclear project rejected by councillors.

About twenty years ago I had a Summer job entering and editing geological data from boreholes in West Cumbria.   Working on five (or possibly ten, it was two decades ago, I can’t remember every detail) metres of core sample at a time, a team of geologists were noting every vein, fissure and fracture and detailing thickness, angle etc..  They were drawing up an image of the geological stability, and therefore suitability for long term nuclear waste storage, of the rocks under the Lake District.

At the time, I was of the opinion that Cumbria would get the deep storage even if there were more suitable places to put it.  The area was resolutely Labour and the Tory government would be less worried about pissing off people who weren’t going to vote for them anyway.  When the Summer was over I went back to university and more or less forgot about the problems of long term nuclear waste storage.  So it was something of a surprise to find that it was still an issue, and that a decision hadn’t yet been made.

Given that one of the proposed locations was Ennerdale- just over the hill from my parents’ house and unspoilt but for a bit of forestry- I’m glad that Cumbria County Council have said no.  The declaration by Copeland Borough Council that they might “go it alone” is disappointing, though.


One Response to (Not) Going Underground

  1. Well, it’s good news for Ennerdale, and undoubtedly bad news for somewhere else. Nobody wants a nuclear waste dump in their back yard, but it has to go somewhere. They’ve spent public funds on assessing the suitability of this area, and now they will need to spend money assessing other areas. And then they will have to pay for lawyers to get them through the inevitable next round of legal challenges to whatever decision is made. It is a tough decision, but it is a decision that must be made. The waste is currently in above-ground storage at Sellafield and other sites, and that is where it will stay until someone has the political balls to deal with this thorny problem.