Introducing Geological Disposal

Mike Brophy, Head of Community Engagement invites you to visit the Radioactive Waste Management stand at BCC Annual Conference on 5 March to find out how your local Chamber and members can get involved with and benefit from this major infrastructure project.

The construction and operation of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) is a major infrastructure project and will be one of the most significant long-term environmental protection projects ever undertaken in the UK.

Nuclear technology has been a part of our lives for over 60 years and is used in power generation, industry, medicine and defence. Today, nuclear energy provides almost a fifth of the UK’s electricity. But, like all industrial processes, these activities have created waste which we need to manage safely.

This waste needs to be disposed of safely and responsibly in order to protect people and the environment for many thousands of years to come. Whilst surface storage for waste is safe and secure in the short term, we must now focus on delivering an environmentally sustainable solution to deal permanently with this waste to avoid passing the burden on to future generations.

Radioactive Waste Management (RWM), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is tasked with finding a suitable site and a willing host community and then constructing and operating a GDF.

Geological disposal is recognised around the world as the best long-term option for management of higher activity radioactive waste. Sweden, France and Finland have already identified their preferred GDF sites, with construction underway in Finland, while others, including Switzerland and Canada, are well on their way to finding a site.

The Government recently set out new policies to support the search for a permanent site for disposal of waste. Including both surface and underground facilities, this project will last for over 100 years, providing significant, long-term investment into an area, including new business opportunities, and potential further infrastructure developments.

The design, construction and operation of a GDF is a multi-billion pound infrastructure programme offering huge benefits to host communities and local businesses. A GDF will create and support hundreds of highly skilled jobs for over 100 years of operation and construction. And because the project will last for so many years, training programmes can be set up so that many of the associated jobs can be filled by local people spanning several generations.

Local businesses will also benefit from the construction and operation of a GDF, with products and services being sourced locally and potential new markets opening up in the service, construction and high-tech engineering industries.

The success of this major endeavour depends on finding a suitable site with a willing host community. To do this, RWM will spend the next few years working closely with individuals, businesses and communities who want to engage in the process to find out if a GDF is right for them in their area.

We hope to see you at BCC Annual Conference on 5 March!


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