Landmark Chambers

Home > Resources > Environmental Law Blog

Environmental Law Blog

Department for Energy and Climate Change Consultation on Process for Radioactive Waste Sites

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has launched a consultation on a new process for locating a site for a Geological Disposal Facility, a site for disposal of higher activity radioactive waste (waste arising from the use of nuclear power stations). 

In what is clearly a sensitive issue, communities are to be provided with more information at an earlier stage, in order to facilitate a collaborative approach.  It will not be a speedy process  Bruce McKirdy, Managing Director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Radioactive Waste Management Directorate, has identified that choosing a site may take around 15 years, with a Geological Disposal Facility taking a further 15 years to construct. 

The consultation follows from a recent call for evidence. 

Under the proposals, communities would be represented by their local authorities.  The representative authority would have a ‘Right of Withdrawal’ in the opening stages of the process, up until the point at which community support must be demonstrated.  However, the consultation makes it clear that the process would be in addition to, rather than replacing, the planning process (which in the case of Geological Disposal Facilities, would be under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime under the Planning Act 2008, according to the Government’s ‘preliminary view’).  However, the development consent application would be made only around 15 years into the project.

The consultation has opened, and will run until 5 December 2013.  The consultation can be found here.