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Radioactive Waste

Volume 927: debated on Wednesday 2 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will list (a) the places where the Atomic Energy Authority will make test borings with a view to the disposal of high-level radioactive waste in geological formations and (b) against each place the month and the year in which the borings will be begun;(2) if he will indicate by Ordnance Survey references where the Atomic Energy Authority will make test borings in the rocks of North-West England with a view to the possible disposal of high-level radioactive nuclear waste.

(a) No places are being sought as actual disposal sites for high level radioactive wastes. However, with other European countries, the United Kingdom is proposing to study certain rock types to obtain basic data for an assessment of their suitability for this purpose.The United Kingdom, with France, is to study hard rocks; Germany and the Netherlands, salt formations; and Italy and Belgium, clay. Sites for actual disposal could not be sought until the research is completed in at least three years' time. At this stage test borings for the research programme are being considered in Galloway and Dumfriesshire. In Cornwall it is the intention to use existing holes as far as possible, but some further holes may need to be drilled.(

b) Borings could not commence until any necessary planning permission had been granted and the weather conditions were suitable. The earliest possible time would be late April 1977.