Criterion 3: Community benefits and impacts

This criterion was about whether the Partnership could be confident that:

  • An appropriate community benefits package can be developed.
  • Appropriate possibilities exist to assess and manage environmental, social and economic impacts appropriately if they occur.
  • The possibility of a repository fits appropriately with the overall direction of the relevant community/ies.
  • Accepting a geological disposal facility at some point in the future, and committing the host area to a nuclear future for many generations to come, would be economically advantageous and would contribute to economic sustainability.

Impacts of a repository

If a repository was to be built in West Cumbria it could lead to a number of different negative and positive impacts.

These might include:

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) says that if the process were to continue, all of the issues would be addressed while there is still a right to withdraw.


The Partnership said that it was satisfied at this stage that an acceptable process can be put in place to assess any negative impacts and either sufficiently reduce their effect or compensate for them.

However, there would only be a clear picture of what the impacts would be if a site is identified and more detailed plans are produced. 

The Partnership also considered whether a repository could be in the longer-term economic interests of the area.


For example the NDA say there would be an average of 550 people a year employed building and operating a repository over a 140 year period. 

If this process was to continues it would be necessary to look at how it might be possible to ensure people in the area could benefit from these opportunities, and also, whether there might be any negative impact on jobs in other areas such as tourism.

A community benefits package


If a repository was built there would also be a package of additional community benefits, in recognition of the essential service being provided to the nation.


The Partnership's work included commissioning research on UK and international experience of community benefits.  This showed that communities have received benefits such as extra investment to generate jobs, new facilities for local people and infrastructure improvements.


The Partnership agreed a set of principles with the Government as the basis for any future negotiations.  For example, the principles said that community benefits would have to be additional to the investment necessary to build a repository and to investment the community would normally expect.


They also said the scale of any benefits would need to have the potential to transform the economic and social wellbeing of the area.

However, it was not possible to be certain what the Government might agree to this far in advance and, therefore, whether the amount and type of these benefits would match the expectations of local people.  

Criterion 4: Design, engineering and inventory

Criterion 5: The siting process
Criterion 6: Public and stakeholder views  

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