Criterion 1: Safety, security, environment and planning

This criterion sought to determine whether the Partnership could be:

  • Satisfied that suitable regulatory and planning processes are in place or are being developed to protect residents, the workforce and the environment.
  • Satisfied that the Radioactive Waste Management Directorate of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has suitable capability and processes in place to protect residents, the workforce and the environment.

Ensuring a repository would be safe, secure and environmentally sound is the most important issue for everybody.

NDA image showing what interior of the surface facilities of a repository might look like The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is responsible for developing the plans for a repository and demonstrating that it would be safe.

The regulators - the Environment Agency and the Office for Nuclear Regulation - would also be responsible for ensuring that the design and operation of any facility meets their standards for environmental protection, safety, security, waste management and radioactive waste transportation.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has produced general proposals that look at how a repository could be constructed and operated safely.  However, they could only do specific work on designing a repository at a later stage, once a site is found.

Some people have concerns about whether a geological disposal facility could be safe.  For example, an organisation called Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates (NWAA) has produced a register of issues they believe would need to be addressed in developing plans for a repository.  See for more details.

The Partnership listened to evidence from the NDA, the regulators and others.  They also commissioned independent views of the NDA's research on the design and safety of a repository.

On the basis of the information available at this time, the Partnership said that they believe the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the regulators have suitable capability and processes in place to protect local residents, the workforce and the environment.

However, further monitoring and independent review would be needed as plans develop.

The Partnership also looked at planning processes.  For example, they said that these may rule out certain scenarios, such as siting surface facilities within the National Park.

Criterion 2: Geology

Criterion 3: Community benefits and impacts

Criterion 4: Design, engineering and inventory

Criterion 5: The siting process

Criterion 6: Public and stakeholder views

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