GDF Community Partnership South Copeland

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Learn more about geological disposal at NWS’ geology events in South Copeland

January 26, 2024

Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) is holding two geology events in South Copeland to continue the conversation about what a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) could mean in the local area.

A GDF is an underground facility designed to safely, securely and permanently dispose of higher activity radioactive waste.

The events will explore how geological studies are planned and undertaken to inform the design and long-term safety of constructing a GDF. They will be held on:

  • Wednesday 31 January, 6-8pm: Millom Palladium, St George’s Road, Millom, LA18 5DW
  • Thursday 1 February, 6-8pm: Drigg and Carleton Village Hall, Drigg, Holmrook, CA19 1XF

Starting at 6pm, experts from NWS will be discussing their work to date to understand the rocks in the subsurface off Copeland.

Fiona McEvoy, Head of Site Characterisation and Research & Development, said: “These interactive events will explore the work we’re doing to develop a digital geological model from seismic data, previous studies by other organisations in the broader region, as well as studies of comparable rocks in other parts of the country.

“We’ll share what is known about the geology in Copeland, what continuing investigations could look like, and explain the significance of this in ensuring the long-term safety of our communities and the environment.”

The search for a suitable site is a nationwide process based on community consent and will include detailed investigations over a number of years.

Community Partnerships, which have formed in Mid Copeland and South Copeland in Cumbria and Theddlethorpe in Lincolnshire, are listening to local people to ensure they have access to information about what hosting a GDF might mean. A Working Group has also formed in South Holderness, East Riding of Yorkshire, to begin engagement on whether the area may be suitable to host a GDF.

Deep geology beyond the coast is currently being considered for siting the underground elements of a GDF. This means a surface facility on, or near, the coast would provide access to a disposal area deep in rock beyond the coast.

If a suitable site is found in South Copeland – a process which could take 10-15 years – a Test of Public Support would give people in the potential host community a direct say over whether the project goes ahead.