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Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the EU red impact project on partitioning, transmutation and waste reduction, on the long-term management of radioactivity in the UK. (291505)

In making recommendations to Government on the long-term management of higher activity radioactive waste in 2006, the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) stated that there was

“no proof of concept for partitioning and transmutation and that the cost would be disproportionate to benefits derived”.

This supported the outcome of a study done by the previous Government advisory committee, the Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee (RWMAC) in 2003.

Government accepted CoRWM’s primary recommendations that geological disposal coupled with safe and secure interim storage was the best way forward and set out its framework for implementing geological disposal in the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely White Paper in June 2008.

While Government policy is to pursue geological disposal, the White Paper recognised the need to take account of developments in storage and disposal options, as well as possible new technologies and solutions. The White Paper also set out that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will keep developments under review and this will include the outputs from the EU Red Impact project in which they have been involved.