Criterion 2: Geology

This criterion sought to determine whether the Partnership could be:

  • Confident in the integrity of the British Geological Survey screening work/report.
  • Satisfied that sufficient areas are remaining in West Cumbria after initial screening to make further progress worthwhile.

Geology would be one of the most important issues in identifying a suitable site.

In 2010 the British Geological Survey (BGS), the UKs geological experts, carried out a basic geological study of West Cumbria and up to 5 km offshore.

Parts of West Cumbria were screened out as obviously geologically unsuitable for an underground repository (see right).  This is mainly because these areas have resources people may want to access in future.  However, the surface facilities could still be in these areas.


Is all of West Cumbria unsuitable?


Some people argue that there is already enough evidence to show that the whole of West Cumbria is geologically unsuitable.  See Chapter 8 of the Partnership's Final Report for more details on some of the arguments.


After looking at a range of views and evidence, the Partnership's opinion was that the argument that all of West Cumbria should be excluded as unsuitable at this stage is not generally accepted within the professional geological community.  It said that:


'In the absence of clear, detailed evidence showing that all of West Cumbria should be ruled out, our initial opinion is that there is enough possibly suitable land to make further investigations worthwhile.


'We believe it will only be possible to find out if there is a suitable site for a repository if there are more detailed investigations, including boreholes, to test the rocks in the area.'

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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