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Dangerous Nuclear Waste Dumping- Mission Creep and Obfuscation

The following images are from a four page Advertorial by NIREX in Cumbria Life from 1993 (NIREX was the then government body on "Nuclear Waste Disposal." ) The NIREX plan was for "deep disposal" of intermediate and some low level nuclear wastes. Now in 2021 the "vision" is to put the intermediate level nuclear wastes (previously earmarked for the NIREX dump at Longlands Farm, Gosforth) into Not So Deep Silos' at the Low Level Waste Repository at Drigg and the even higher activity and very hot nuclear wastes (which even the gung ho NIREX never proposed putting deep underground) into a Geological Disposal Facility ( deep under the Irish Sea is in the frame).

Note that the NIREX advert from 1993 states that the Geological Disposal Facility plan is for "intermediate and some low level wastes." In a newsletter in March this year for the Low Level Waste Repository at Drigg, it was said: “The NDA is exploring the benefits of developing Near Surface (NSD) – for disposing of a proportion of Intermediate Level Waste (ILW), but no decision has been taken on whether UK Government will pursue this option or whether LLWR, will in time, host a NSD facility."

We asked a number of Freedom of Informations questions which have not been answered directly or honestly with a simple yes or no but serve to deflect and frustrate any scrutiny.

  • Have the public been consulted about the RWM/NDA/CoRWM plan for Near Surface Disposal of Intermediate Level Waste at Drigg’s Low Level Waste Repository?

The honest answer would be NO

  • Has the Borough or County Council held a debate or vote on whether to take any steps towards Near Surface Disposal of Intermediate Level Wastes by alllowing 16 rock characterisation boreholes to be drilled at a depth of 120m into the underlying sandstone ?

The honest answer would be NO

  • What are the category of low and intermediate level wastes proposed for NSD and would this include the category of wastes previously designated by NIREX for a GDF ?

The honest answer would be: the major components of Intermediate Level Wastes are nuclear reactor components, graphite from reactor cores and sludges from the treatment of radioactive liquid effluents. All of these wastes were previously designated by NIREX for a Geological Disposal Facility.

You can see Low Level Waste Repository's answers here:

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Disposal deep underground is dangerous and replicates the crass mistakes at the original Windscale site where waste was put in silos and tanks that couldn't even survive 100 years. We can't be sure that underground tunnels can last the thousands of years required without a catastrophic accident. If they flood the water pressure deep underground could prevent any recovery and spread particles in unforeseeable and dangerous ways.

The idea should be stopped along with production of any more waste from nuclear power plants.


Dec 21, 2021

This mission creep should be of concern to everyone - whatever political persuasion, whether vegan, vegetarian or meat eater - nuclear waste impacts all of us universally.

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