Expert Opinion  






Geological Disposal Facility – Two Popular Myths

Retrievability - An understandable misconception or wishful thinking?

A GDF is not for the storage of nuclear waste. We must all understand, the aim of the facility is purely, once and for all, disposal. Other than for a number of years* whilst the facility is filled, the waste will not and can not be retrievable.

It is accepted that the containers the waste is buried in, will degrade and leak. The nuclear waste can only be contained, for the length of time to ensure that it will no longer be a risk to life, by a geological barrier. No engineered structure has ever been designed to last for a fraction of that time.

That is why the Nation must have the safest and best geological barrier to contain the facility. The clue is in the name, a GEOLOGICAL Disposal Facility.

The Legacy Waste is already here! – Misunderstanding or sleight of hand?

When the original MRWS process was proposed, it was to be constructed to hold existing waste. Time and time again it has been said that, "as Sellafield hosts 75% of the Nations existing High Level Waste, Cumbria is the best place for a GDF as we shouldn’t ship the waste around the country. It just isn’t safe".

The NDA clearly think it is safe as they proudly boast of millions of incident free miles of nuclear waste transport since the early 60s.

If we forget the fact that waste is continually being moved into Sellafield, we must not miss the fact that the government has now moved the goalposts with MRWSII. The new proposals are for a GDF to hold new build waste from the proposed new reactors, as and when they come on line. This means that:-


• The GDF needs to be many times the size that was originally proposed

• There will be more new build waste in the GDF than the “legacy waste” already here**

• This new waste will come from all over the nation


And so......why should we accept that Cumbria will become the nation’s nuclear dustbin, just because it is politically expedient.

The waste isn’t already here and the geology is safer elsewhere!



*This would probably be around 100 years without new build and potentially 200 or more with it, to allow highest activity waste to cool

** in terms of radioactivity, but not volume. Radioactivity dictates GDF size to allow heat dispersal



Ever wondered if we should have faith in our politicians?



The deadline for responses to the MRWS II consultation has closed. However the determination of DECC to dispose of high level radioactive waste somewhere under West Cumbria continues. They continue to thrust onward with these plans, despite geological evidence that clearly shows the area to be unsuitable for the purpose of siting a GDF (Geological Disposal Facility). This evidence continues to go unchallenged.

Due to their poor management of the consultation the original deadline was extended from the 5th December until 19th December. Strange though! No-one told the minister responsible.

On Tuesday 10th December 2013 at 10.45 am Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP (Minister of State for Energy) gave evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee for Science and Technology inquiry on Nuclear Follow-Up. He appeared to be totally out of touch with what DECC, his own department, was actually doing.

Watch the full recording of Michael Fallon MP here: The GDF questions start with Lord Selborne at (real time) 11:27:46

To read the transcript download the pdf document here: Transcript The GDF “evidence” starts at Q26 (Lord Selborne) but also look out for Lord O’Neill’s “It seems that the interests of bed and breakfast providers in other parts of England were of greater significance than finding a bed for nuclear waste”. By the way, Lord O’Neill is the former chair of the Nuclear Industry Association.


Our Politicians don't have dual standards, do they?


A company which planned to bury up to a million cubic metres of nuclear waste near Distington has failed in its last-ditch bid to win approval for the scheme.

Endecom UK had hoped to use the former opencast coal mining site at Keekle Head, Pica, to dispose of low-level and very low-level waste, mostly from Sellafield.

The firm lodged an appeal after its plan was rejected by Cumbria County Council, and the arguments were aired at a public inquiry in June.

But Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has upheld the council’s decision, it has now been revealed.

Commenting upon the recent Keekle Head appeal, Councillor Tim Knowles whose ward is Cleator Moor East and Frizington said “It was a cheap and easy option to put this stuff into holes in the ground and we were totally against it."

“We are totally against the proliferation of nuclear sites in this way and just about everybody in the local community opposed it. There was a huge public response.”


Strange I thought Councillor Knowles was Pro GDF?

Read the full story in the Whitehaven News

    If you want to refresh your memory on the case against the MRWS consultation read the responses from Professor Smythe & Professor Haszeldine  
    If you have a view and would care to send us a comment  


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