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Government Take Advice From Coal Mine Boss Over Deep Nuclear Dump Plans

This video was taken from the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management Plenary Meeting 19/5/21.

Government have employed the CEO of the Cumbria coal mine plan to advise them on construction costs, mining techniques and ultimate Delivery of a deep nuclear dump for heat generating high level nuclear wastes.

The Irish Sea is in the frame. The Irish Sea is where the Cumbria coal mine is also being planned adjacent to the nuclear dump (Geological Disposal Facility) “area of interest.”

No conflict of interest here then?

Not much!!

The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management is appointed by the Dept of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, they are also responsible for the Coal Authority who have bent over backwards to accommodate the Cumbria coal mine plan.

Radiation Free Lakeland are calling for Mark Kirkbride’s appointment to CoRWM to be terminated and an inquiry held into nuclear /coal/ Governmental cronyism. As cronyism goes it doesn’t get any worse.

Meanwhile the Govnernment are to have Final Say on Coal Mine at Planning Inquiry While Taking Advice from Coal Boss on Nuke Dump Plan.

Radiation Free Lakeland argue that the Cumbria Coal Mine Planning Inquiry scheduled for September is a farce because a) Cumbria County Council have withdrawn their support for the coal mine and b) Government now has the final say on the coal mine while at the same time planning to issue the coal mine boss with renewed licences to drill while employing the coal mine boss to advise them on nuclear dump plans.

Our petition to Block the Coal Licences is here :

Letter sent May 21st 2021 to the Chair of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management

Dear Sir Nigel Thrift,

Thank you for acknowledging that there are “frustrations” surrounding the appointment of West Cumbria Mining’s CEO, Mark Kirkbride to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. These concerns are compounded by Mark Kirkbride’s key role in collating costings on behalf of BEIS/H.M Government for construction of a GDF. We note that CoRWM has not yet got a handle on the inventory of intermediate and high level nuclear wastes earmarked for GDF. We wonder how Mark Kirkbride can provide costings to BEIS/H.M Govnt as the size and construction of the underground areas of the GDF would, we assume, be determined by the Inventory.

In October 2020 I asked questions under FOI which were brushed aside (see below). Many people are asking the same questions. On 19th May 2021 at the CoRWM Plenary, as well as once again airing concerns about the conflict of interest in Mark Kirkbride’s appointment I asked specifically again about the use of the West Cumbria Mining borehole core samples in facilitating a GDF, your answer was confusing and seemed irrelevant to the question.

Instead of airily brushing away conflict of interest concerns will CoRWM do the following?

1. Make a public statement that West Cumbria Mining’s existing 8000m of borehole core samples and any future borehole core samples HAVE NOT BEEN / WILL NOT BE USED for rock characterisation to facilitate a GDF ? Note: extended/new licences to drill research boreholes in the subsea area adjacent to “possible” GDF have been applied for by WCM without any public scrutiny.

2. Make a public statement confirming that WCM and any existing or newly formed companies associated with WCM will be blocked from tendering for Delivery of a GDF.

3. Make a public statement confirming that Tunnels, Drifts and the Void left by WCM’s coal mining activity under the Irish Sea in the area adjacent to the ‘possible’ GDF will not be used in any way at all to Deliver a GDF. Note: This includes utilising the WCM mass void space to emplace the rock spoil left from excavation of a GDF. Rock spoil excavated from a GDF would be for example in the region of 20 million tonnes or more (depending on inventory). The rock spoil would of course include Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials from rocks up to 1000m deep. It all would have to go somewhere and Mark Kirkbride’s coal mine (which only be up to 25% backfilled by WCM leaving 75% mass void space “available” ) would be a very handy start.

If CoRWM cannot make watertight assurances on all of the above then the appointment of Mark Kirkbride should be terminated as soon as possible and a high level inquiry held into the cronyism surrounding this appointment.

Note: Radiation Free Lakeland are not opposed to the concept of GDF but we are unequivocally opposed to the Governmental push to “Delivery” of a GDF. While unresolvable scientific uncertainty exists into long term underground/subsea containment of nuclear wastes and while ever more dangerous new nuclear wastes are still being produced, the ethics of “Delivery” of a GDF are intolerable.

yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby

on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland

Below is Previous Freedom of Information Request to:

Committee on Radioactive Waste Management

Victoria 316-319, 3rd Floor

1 Victoria Street




Marianne Birkby October 2020

27th October FOI Request

Dear Marianne Birkby,

Thank you for your email 27th October where you requested the following information:

Are CoRWM endorsing West Cumbria Mining’s Irish Sea Coal Mine plan? (the appointment of Mark Kirkbride to CoRWM strongly suggests complicity)

Which body is responsible for making sure that everything is done to ensure Sellafield’s discharged wastes now on the Cumbrian Mud Patch lie as dormant as possible ( inevitably there is some resuspension from storms and tides) and not be induced to be resuspended en masse into the water column by subsidence/collapse of the Irish Sea bed.

If collapse of the Irish Sea bed occurs and decades worth of discharged reprocessing wastes including plutonium are discharged into the water column and the coasts – (airborne particles can travel 10+ miles inland) who would be responsible for this induced nuclear catastrophe?

WCM have, following four years of drilling, 4000 metres of drill core held in 851 core boxes stacked in steel crates at the former Haig Mining Museum. Will CoRWM and other bodies involved in the (premature) plan for Geological ‘Disposal’ of nuclear waste be using this to inform “site evaluation of a GDF?”

Please find attached the answers to your questions below:

For Question 1, West Cumbria Mining and the business interest of Mr Kirkbride, bear no influence on the remit of CoRWM. Accordingly, CoRWM has naturally taken no view of the matter raised.

Further information on CoRWM can be found at

For Questions 2, 3 and 4, CoRWM does not hold the information requested. You may want to contact NDA who is responsible for Sellafield, or the relevant environmental and marine regulators, who may be able to offer a response to your questions.

Yours sincerely,


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