Residents invited to comment on 2 consultations on geological waste facilities
Harwell SSG is conducting two consultations relating to GDF policy, which will run in parallel for 12 weeks from 25 January to 19 April 2018. The outcome of one consultation is not dependent on the other.
The link to the Government’s GDF consultations is
By way of background please note:
Geological disposal is the safest and most secure means of managing our higher-activity radioactive waste in the long-term. It will provide a permanent disposal solution following more than 60 years of producing radioactive waste from various sources, including electricity generation from nuclear power.
A summary of the consultations is outlined below:
Working with Communities (WWC)
This consultation sets out the proposed policy on how communities should be engaged and represented in a siting process for a geological disposal facility for higher activity radioactive waste in England and Northern Ireland. This includes identifying a community that has expressed an interest in hosting a GDF, what mechanisms should be used to disburse the community investment, and how communities will have a say.This consultation is open to any interested parties in the UK to respond. Once this consultation has closed, the Government will consider all comments received and publish a written response to the consultation setting out our final policy decision. The delivery body for a GDF (Radioactive Waste Management) will then after the consultation produce more detailed guidance as to how the siting process will work in practice.
National Policy Statement (NPS)
This consultation on the draft National Policy Statement (NPS) sets out the need for nationally significant infrastructure projects related to the geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste in England. The NPS will also guide developers when preparing, and the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State when considering, applications for development consent relating to geological disposal infrastructure. The Appraisal of Sustainability assesses the potential socio-economic and environmental impacts of the draft National Policy Statement and the Habitats Regulations Assessment is an assessment of whether there are any ‘likely significant effects’ on any European conservation sites.
In this consultation Government are actively looking for views and suggestions on the draft NPS and supporting environmental appraisals. This will enable us to meet these objectives in the most effective and efficient way.
Once this public consultation has closed the draft NPS will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, including consideration by Select Committee and possible parliamentary debates, as is required for all draft National Policy Statements. The draft National Policy Statement will then be revised, taking into account the responses to the public consultation and any recommendations from the Parliamentary scrutiny process. The Government then plans to lay the final National Policy Statement (alongside the Appraisal of Sustainability and Habitats Regulations Assessment Reports) in Parliament so that it can be approved/’designated’ and also publish a ‘post adoption statement’ setting out how the outcome of the public consultation has been taken into account in the final document.
Our approach to consultation
We will remain transparent and open to discussions throughout the engagement process and are conducting these consultations in line with the Cabinet Office. This sets out that consultations should be informative and conveyed in a clear and concise manner so that those consulted can give informed responses. It also outlines that consultations are run for an appropriate amount of time and Government should aim to publish a summary of responses to consultation within 12 weeks on the .GOV consultation webpage in order to facilitate scrutiny. We will tailor our consultation so that we can engage with those who wish to take part and ensure it is accessible to all.
Roles & Responsibilities
The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy has responsibility for the policy on the long-term management of higher activity radioactive waste and is responsible for these consultations.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a public body and responsible for implementing government policy on radioactive waste management and geological disposal.
Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) is a public body and subsidiary of the NDA with responsibility for the delivery body for this policy. RWM are responsible for working with communities to find a a suitable site in a community willing to host a GDF, and for the design and construction of it. They will not be involved in these consultations but will be in attendance at the consultation events.
The Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency will regulate the GDF to make sure that any future facility meets the required high standards for environmental protection, safety, security, waste management and radioactive waste transportation. Representatives from the regulators may observe the consultation events.
The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) provides independent scrutiny and advice to the UK governments on the long-term management of higher activity radioactive wastes.
The NPS consultation applies in England and the WWC consultation applies in England and Northern Ireland; however, anyone from across the UK can respond to these consultations. The Welsh Government is consulting at the same time on its policy for engaging with communities in Wales in the siting process for a geological disposal facility.
Scottish Government policy is that the long-term management of higher activity radioactive waste should be in near-surface facilities located as near to the sites where the waste is produced as possible. While the Scottish Government does not support deep geological disposal, it continues, along with the UK Government and other devolved administrations, to support a robust programme of interim storage and an on-going programme of research and development.
Link to the National Policy Statement consultation: NPS consultation
Link to the Working with Communities consultation: WWC consultation
Link to the geological disposal facility (GDF) news story: Press release
Also Citizenspace links:
For the NPS consultation: https://beisgovuk.citizenspace.com/civil-nuclear-resilience/gdf-nps/
For the WWC consultation: https://beisgovuk.citizenspace.com/civil-nuclear-resilience/gdf-wwc/
Source: T Finn, Harwell SSG Secretariat