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“Consultation on Managing Radioactive Waste Safely”

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

I am today publishing the “Summary and Analysis of Responses to the Consultation on Managing Radioactive Waste Safely; A Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal”. The consultation commenced on 25 June 2007 and closed on 2 November 2007.

The Government view is that the consultation responses indicate support for managing higher activity radioactive waste in the long term through geological disposal, as recommended as the best available option by the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) in July 2006. As set out in their response to CoRWM’s recommendations in October 2006, the Government continue to see geological disposal as the way forward for the long-term management of higher activity radioactive waste.

Furthermore, the responses indicated support for the approach proposed in the consultation document for securing implementation of such disposal, including how a voluntarism or partnership approach and site screening and assessment criteria might be used to identify a facility site.

The Government also acknowledge, in line with CoRWM’s recommendations, that the geological disposal implementation programme needs to be coupled with safe and secure interim storage and that there will be a programme of ongoing research and development for this waste management programme, for which the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will have primary responsibility.

The consultation responses also provided a number of comments on more detailed aspects of carrying forward the geological disposal implementation programme. All consultation comments will be considered in developing the details of the next stages of implementation. These will be set out in a White Paper to be published later this year.

Copies of the summary and analysis of responses will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and are available on Defra’s website at:

www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/radwaste-framework/index.htm