On 10 January 2013, the group of all 6 Cumbria MP's met in Westminster Parliament, to hear evidence concerning radioactive waste investigations and the NDA proposals to buld a GDF, should a suitable site be found
Evidence from Professor Stuart Haszeldine
Reply by Professor Haszeldine to NDA evidence
Evidence to MP's from Professor David Smythe
Link text Smythe comments and critiques NDA and Professor Yardley evidence
This is the briefing session between MP's and DECC government Department. There appears to be an explicit link between the wish to conclude contracts for new-build nuclear reactors in the UK and the facilities in the UK ensure long-term disposal of radioactive waste.
The written submissions from witnesses Mr Bruce McKirdy NDA, and from Professor Bruce Yardley of Leeds University has now been published
The transcript of the verbal evidence session between the MP's and Haszeldine, McKirdy and Yardley has now been published.
Some members of the local community have taken offense at the information being presented. However here is a good example of a well-meaning local Cockermouth person getting the facts sometimes mixed, as they say, and the Keswick Reminder and Times and Star local newspapers had to publish an apology. Debate is good, but not personal attacks please.
It is also worth noting that in November 2012, Minister for Energy with responsibility for radioactive waste Baroness S Verma, wrote to Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC), to state that she would consider changing the rules on MRWS stages . Now, these MRWS stages were set up by a White paper in 2008, it shouldnt be that easy to change what everybody has agreed are the "rules". That could mean that a Council voting to enter Stage 4, finds afterwards that MRWS Stage 5 (drilling and seismic surveying) simply rolls onwards with no pause. Tricky.
And its also interesting that in Parliament, the Minister stated in reply to a Parliamentary Question from Andrew Smith (Oxford) on 10 Jan 2013 Parliamentary Question from Andrew Smith (Oxford) on 10 Jan 2013 about Hinkley C that for new-build nuclear power plants, the Government expect the waste to be disposed into a GDF storage site. However if we stick to the timing on MRWS - 5 years from 2013 to go through Stage 4, then no sites will have been confirmed as potentially suitable until after the new-build nuclear plant has been approved (with no waste solution).
There is substantial local concern about the open ended and unspecified contract which Councils are invited to enter into with the Government and NDA. This is exemplified by a letter on radioactive waste from Lord Frank Judd, to Minister Baroness Verma, on 14 January 2013. This is very unusual for Lords to become involved in local matters. And the letter makes some clear points quite succinctly.
Why are we choosing a GDF in the national park ? letter to Observer , drafted Haszeldine 23 January 2013
Questions on radioactive waste GDF and environmental impact in House of Lords, 22 January 2013 What alternative sites have been investigated for a GDF in the UK?
Has an environmental impact assessment been undertaken across the UK ?
Councillors summary of MRWS process and geology was sent to all voting Councillors on 28 January - a summary of the west Cumbria MRWS process and geology, how DECC may change the proposals, the poor geology, National park and site surveying for radioactive waste GDF "accelerated" construction. was sent by Email to all Copeland, Allerdale and Cumbria County Councillors. Witness the contents of this document, as it seems that DECC will try to make the MRWS "Accelerate" if a yes vote is obtained - and move into Stage 5, where direct partnership with Councils is envisaged to approve invasive site investigations - specifically including the National Park.