Thanks to Whitehaven News and local press for exposing the fact that rock characterisation boreholes have already been drilled at the 'Low Level Waste Repository' to prepare the way for Near Surface Disposal of Intermediate Level Wastes. We note the industry response: " this study is separate from ongoing activities to find a suitable site for a Geological Disposal Facility"
This quite frankly is a big fat lie. The coal boss Mark Kirkbride, with his hat on as key member of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, has provided costings to Government on "co-location" of Near Surface and Geological Disposal. In other words the Near Surface Disposal (NSD) facility for Intermediate Level Wastes would be up to 120 metres underground in silos. The infrastructure of the NSD above ground facilities, including security, access and the like would be shared with a Geological Disposal to "cut costs."
Here below is the Press Release we sent out to all national and local press as you can see the "co-location" issue is highlighted as is coal boss, Mark Kirkbride's role as key advisor. The media, with the exception of the Isle of Man have show remarkable solidarity in omitting any reference to the conflict of interest and cronyism regarding coal boss, Mark Kirkbride's 2019 Government appointed role in the push for nuclear waste dumping.
CUMBRIA COAL BOSS' COSTINGS ON DEEP AND NOT SO DEEP BURIAL OF NUCLEAR WASTE DUE ANY DAY - "CONFLICT OF INTEREST" WITH MINING BUSINESS INTERESTS
Costs for the underground burial of nuclear wastes are due to be published shortly by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), campaigners have learnt. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have tasked the CEO of West Cumbria Mining and CoRWM member, Mark Kirkbride with providing costings for geological and near surface disposal of high and intermediate level nuclear wastes.
Ever since the appointment of Mark Kirkbride to CoRWM in 2019, nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland have argued that there is a deep conflict of interest at the heart of government on this issue. Government on the one hand will have the final say on Mark Kirkbride’s coal mine business interests and on the other hand are employing Mr Kirkbride to provide costings and “invaluable” advice on the burial of nuclear wastes. The Geological Disposal Facility is a major infrastructure project and is described by BEIS as “one of the most significant long-term environmental protection projects ever undertaken in the UK.”
Peaceful Demo at Drigg - on the Edge of the Lake District
Supporters of Radiation Free Lakeland’s new campaign Lakes Against Nuclear Dump (L.A.N.D) held a peaceful demonstration outside the Mid-Copeland Community Partnership “drop-in” at Drigg on Friday 11th March. L.A.N.D said "Drigg residents have been surprised to learn that 16 research boreholes 120 metres deep have already been drilled without any democratic oversight at the Low Level Waste Repository. The boreholes are part of a “feasibility study” for possible Near Surface Disposal of Intermediate Level Nuclear Wastes. Government policy would have to be amended for Near Surface Disposal to take place. L.A.N.D say "Locals at Drigg have every right to be angry about this. A map released under Freedom of Information as well as showing recently acquired long lease of the Drigg dunes shows the mining/mineral rights owned by the NDA and clearly shows a linked route from the Low Level Waste Repository area to the Inshore area of the Irish Sea. The mining and mineral rights mean that the NDA are able to extract rock without reference to anyone else.”
Freedom of Information answers have revealed that: "The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has asked LLWR to conduct a feasibility study to assess the capacity of the LLWR site as part of their wider studies on near-surface disposal.
.. It includes the drilling of new characterisation
and monitoring boreholes that reach a maximum depth of 120 metres. All of
which are within the LLWR site boundary."
"Co-Locate" to "cut costs"
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority have stated in their 2020 position paper on Near Surface Disposal that "The assessment of disposal costs has been made on the assumption that a nearer- surface disposal facility ..would be co-located with a GDF.” This is say L.A.N.D a breach of trust regarding the nuclear waste plans and they have
sent a 30 page report "Nuclear Waste’s Shifting Sands On the Lakeland Fringe” to Allerdale and Copeland Community Partnership members with a letter urging them to withdraw from the “Community Partnership" which they have branded “fraudulent”.
The Mid-Copeland Community Partnership “Drop-In” at Drigg on Friday told Drigg locals that the 16 research boreholes drilled without any democratic scrutiny “are nothing to do with us.” Meanwhile, coal boss, Mark Kirkbride’s costings for the Near Surface and Geological Disposal of Intermediate and High Level Nuclear Wastes are due to be published any day now on the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management’s website. A decision on Mark Kirkbride’s coal mine is also due to be made by Secretary of State Michael Gove. In another twist of logic both the subsea coal mine and the subsea GDF would be within the West of Copeland area of the Irish Sea designated as a Marine Conservation Zone by Michael Gove in 2019.
Appointment of Mark Kirkbride to CorWM https://www.gov.uk/government/people/mark-kirkbridg
Freedom of Information request/answers re rock characterisation boreholes for Near Surface Disposal https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/are_the_16_rock_characterisation
West of Copeland Marine Conservation Zone designated by Michael Gove in 2019 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/marine-conservation-zones-west-of-copeland
2020 Position Paper on Near Surface Disposal - co-location with GDF to cut costs