I am announcing today that the Ministry of Defence’s submarine dismantling project (SDP) has published the provisional shortlist of candidate sites for the storage of intermediate level radioactive waste removed from nuclear-powered submarines after they have left naval service and been defuelled. The storage will be for an interim period until the UK’s geological deposit facility is available some time after 2040.
I previously announced on 22 March 2013, Official Report, column 61WS that all nuclear licensed and authorised sites in the UK, including those owned by the MOD, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and industry, would be considered on an equal basis. This approach was based on the findings from an initial public consultation, which ran from October 2011 to February 2012, and was announced by the then Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Worcestershire (Sir Peter Luff) on 27 October 2011, Official Report, column 16WS.
All such sites have now been considered and the five that have been provisionally shortlisted for the interim store are as follows:
the atomic weapons establishment sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire, which are owned by the MOD and run by AWE plc;
Sellafield in Cumbria and Chapelcross in Dumfriesshire, which are owned by the NDA; and
Capenhurst in Cheshire, which is run by Capenhurst Nuclear Services.
In line with good practice on public consultation, we will now enter a period of pre-engagement with local authorities, elected representatives and established site stakeholder groups at each of the candidate sites. This will provide these groups with an early opportunity to understand and comment on the criteria that should be considered during the main assessment of shortlisted sites. It will also help us to shape the formal public consultation that we will carry out before any decisions are made.
Following this period of pre-engagement, our aim is to publish the final shortlist of sites in summer 2014. These will then be taken forward as the basis for public consultation, which will be carried out locally, around each candidate site, and nationally. Our plan is for the public consultation to begin towards the end of this year and end early next year.
Further information on the SDP and a copy of the proposed criteria and screening report, which contains more detail about why individual sites were chosen for the provisional shortlist, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/submarine-dismantling-project-interim-storage-of-intermediate-level-radioactive-waste.
Copies of these reports will also be placed in the Library of the House.