Working In Partnership Copeland

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Welcome

We are the Copeland Working Group.

This group formed to start a conversation about whether Copeland could be the right place to build a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) – and whether a GDF would be right for Copeland. The community will be engaged throughout the process, with the community ultimately deciding if it wants to host a GDF or not.

This is the first step in a gradual, consent-based process. As a community, we will work to find out everything we need to know to eventually make a decision. We have not committed to having a GDF here, and we can withdraw from the process at any time.

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What is
a GDF?

A Geological Disposal Facility, or GDF, is an underground facility designed to safely and securely dispose of our radioactive waste – specifically ‘higher-activity’ waste (the most radioactive kind).

It involves building a series of specially designed and engineered vaults and tunnels deep underground. It could potentially be three times deeper than the height of the Shard in London, Britain’s tallest building.

Once the waste is placed inside a GDF, the facility will eventually be permanently sealed. The way the facility is designed and engineered means it can be sealed to protect people and the environment for hundreds of thousands of years, without needing any maintenance, while the radioactivity fades away naturally.

Making sure
it is safe

Scientists and other authorities all over the world agree that a GDF is the safest way to deal with ‘higher-activity’ radioactive waste (the most radioactive kind) for the long term. This international consensus comes after decades of scientific research.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency will review the designs for a GDF, the proposed site, and the science that informs them, to make sure it protects people and the environment. A GDF will only be built if it can be shown to be safe for both people and the environment. As soon as construction starts on a GDF, the site will have to meet strict safety standards.

Which area is
being considered?

This Working Group will collectively identify the initial ‘search area’ within which RWM will seek potentially suitable sites for a GDF.

For now, anywhere within Copeland is being considered with the exception of those areas within the Lake District National Park.  As the search progresses, this ‘search area’ will be narrowed down. The community will be engaged in discussion throughout this process.

Further information can be found in the Working Group Area tab.

Once a Community Partnership has been formed it is expected that the initial ‘search area’ will be narrowed down. The community will be engaged in discussion via the Community Partnership throughout this process.

Who is part of the Working Group?

The Working Group comprises the interested parties who originally raised an interest in the siting process, RWM, an independent facilitator, an independent chair, and Copeland Borough Council.

Mark Cullinan, Independent Chair, Copeland Working Group

Mark Cullinan

Chair

Copeland Working Group

Mark is the independent Chair of the Copeland Working Group. A former Chief Executive of Lancaster City Council, Mark is an experienced Chair, Executive and Non-Executive Director, and brings over thirty years of experience in public service leadership to his role as Chair. His background is particularly in environmental, economic and social issues. He is currently Chair of Impact Housing Cumbria and the Riverside Charitable Trust, and Deputy Chair of the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust and of St John’s Hospice (North Lancashire and South Cumbria). He previously served as Chair of the Lancashire Children and Young People’s Trust.

Community
and choice

The Working Group will start a conversation about geological disposal with the local community. It will propose an area for a future Community Partnership to consider, and work to identify who should be in that Community Partnership.

The Community Partnership can then continue the conversation, work to develop a vision for the future of the community and provide answers to people’s questions.

Then much later, when everyone’s had plenty of time to get informed and make up their minds, there will be a Test of Public Support. This will take the form of something like a poll or referendum that lets every voter in the electoral wards around the proposed site have their say about a GDF. Without their support, the project will not go ahead.

What is
a GDF?

A Geological Disposal Facility, or GDF, is an underground facility designed to safely and securely dispose of our radioactive waste – specifically ‘higher-activity’ waste (the most radioactive kind).

It involves building a series of specially designed and engineered vaults and tunnels deep underground. It could potentially be three times deeper than the height of the Shard in London, Britain’s tallest building.

Once the waste is placed inside a GDF, the facility will eventually be permanently sealed. The way the facility is designed and engineered means it can be sealed to protect people and the environment for hundreds of thousands of years, without needing any maintenance, while the radioactivity fades away naturally.

Making sure
it is safe

Scientists and other authorities all over the world agree that a GDF is the safest way to deal with ‘higher-activity’ radioactive waste (the most radioactive kind) for the long term. This international consensus comes after decades of scientific research.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency will review the designs for a GDF, the proposed site, and the science that informs them, to make sure it protects people and the environment. A GDF will only be built if it can be shown to be safe for both people and the environment. As soon as construction starts on a GDF, the site will have to meet strict safety standards.

Which area is
being considered?

This Working Group will collectively identify the initial ‘search area’ within which RWM will seek potentially suitable sites for a GDF.

For now, anywhere within Copeland is being considered with the exception of those areas within the Lake District National Park.  As the search progresses, this ‘search area’ will be narrowed down. The community will be engaged in discussion throughout this process.

Further information can be found in the Working Group Area tab.

Once a Community Partnership has been formed it is expected that the initial ‘search area’ will be narrowed down. The community will be engaged in discussion via the Community Partnership throughout this process.

Who is part of the Working Group?

The Working Group comprises the interested parties who originally raised an interest in the siting process, RWM, an independent facilitator, an independent chair, and Copeland Borough Council.

Mark Cullinan, Independent Chair, Copeland Working Group

Mark Cullinan

Chair

Location Working Group

Mark is the independent Chair of the Copeland Working Group. A former Chief Executive of Lancaster City Council, Mark is an experienced Chair, Executive and Non-Executive Director, and brings over thirty years of experience in public service leadership to his role as Chair. His background is particularly in environmental, economic and social issues. He is currently Chair of Impact Housing Cumbria and the Riverside Charitable Trust, and Deputy Chair of the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust and of St John’s Hospice (North Lancashire and South Cumbria). He previously served as Chair of the Lancashire Children and Young People’s Trust.

Community
and choice

The Working Group will start a conversation about geological disposal with the local community. It will propose an area for a future Community Partnership to consider, and work to identify who should be in that Community Partnership.

The Community Partnership can then continue the conversation, work to develop a vision for the future of the community and provide answers to people’s questions.

Then much later, when everyone’s had plenty of time to get informed and make up their minds, there will be a Test of Public Support. This will take the form of something like a poll or referendum that lets every voter in the electoral wards around the proposed site have their say about a GDF. Without their support, the project will not go ahead.

Overview of siting process

This interactive diagram explains more about the GDF siting process.

Overview of siting process

This interactive diagram explains more about the GDF siting process.