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Suffolk: New question over Sizewell after Cumbria vote

12:16 31 January 2013

An artist

An artist's impression of what Sizewell C could look like if given the green light

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A NEW question mark was raised over proposals for Sizewell C after councillors at the other end of the country rejected an application for a nuclear waste storage facility.

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Nuclear waste from Sizewell B is currently stored in specialist ponds on the site where the radioactivity contained in them is allowed to “cool down” over many years.

However at present there is still no long-term storage facility – and county councillors said this week the long-term future of the nuclear waste should be settled before Sizewell C is built.

Councils in Cumbria had expressed an interest in developing a long-term storage plant near the Sellafield site – however members of the county council’s cabinet voted 7-3 against pressing ahead with plans for a £12bn waste store in the west of the county.

The local district council, Copeland, voted in favour – but the proposal cannot go forward because of the county’s opposition.

Suffolk county councillor with responsibility for planning Guy McGregor said the vote could affect the development of Sizewell C.

He said: “We have made it clear there needs to be a plan for the long-term disposal of nuclear waste before there is further development there, and this is a significant set back to that.”

There was no question of nuclear waste being stored long-term in Suffolk – the geology of the land in this part of the country is not suitable for such a store.

Mr McGregor added: “We cannot just have nuclear waste stored indefinitely in the cooling ponds – we need to know what the future is going to hold for it.”

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said the government remained committed to finding a long-term solution.

He said: “We respect the decision made today by Cumbria councillors. While their decision to withdraw is disappointing, Cumbria will continue to play a central role in the energy and nuclear power sectors.

“It is however absolutely vital that we get to grips with our national nuclear legacy. The issue has been kicked into the long-grass for far too long.

“We remain firmly committed to geological disposal as the right policy for the long-term, safe and secure management of radioactive waste.”

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