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Floods: Radioactive Wastes

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 20 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what consideration is given to the potential vulnerability to sea ingress from sea level rise or flooding inundation due to climate change of a site being considered for the suitability of its geology for a subterranean repository for long-lived radioactive waste; (143768)

(2) what progress has been made in deciding the scientific criteria for the initial screening out of areas unsuitable for a geological repository for long-lived radioactive waste.

[holding answer 18 June 2007]: The Criteria Proposals Group (CPG) and the Criteria Review Panel (CRP) were established to develop draft criteria for the initial screening out of areas unsuitable for geological disposal of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste. These criteria will be included in the forthcoming Managing Radioactive Waste Safely consultation document. CPG and CRP have now completed their work. A joint report will be published on the DEFRA website later in summer 2007.

The potential impact of rising sea levels on coastal areas as a result of climate change was considered by CPG and CRP. Sea level rise could affect the location of repository access points and of surface facilities sited in coastal areas during the repository construction, operational and pre-closure phases. CPG and CRP concluded that, because of the potential to protect surface facilities from coastal flooding, for example by engineered means or, where possible, by relocating facilities to higher ground, risk of coastal flooding was not a general exclusion criterion. However, it would need to form part of the future process of site specific consideration.