Underground radioactive waste facility will create 4,000 jobs, developer says
Controversial plans to create an underground facility for radioactive waste would create up to 4,000 jobs in the first 25 years, according to a new report.
The 11-page report, published by Nuclear Waste Services – which is the developer of the project – examines the manpower and skills needed for a community to host a geological storage facility, also known as GDF.
It says the facility is expected to generate 2,000 jobs in any given year over its 175-year lifespan and “could and should” be created locally. He said he was committed to training, support and local community roles.
Currently, three areas of West Cumbria – Mid-Copeland, South Copeland and Allerdale – have set up community partnerships to see if they would have a suitable site for the installation.
The role of the partnerships is to facilitate discussions between the community and the GDF developer and to ensure that the community has the relevant information they need when considering the possibility of hosting a GDF.
If a suitable site is found – a process that could take 10 to 15 years – the decision to develop a GDF cannot be made until the community of directly affected constituencies has had a say and has passed a positive Public Support Test. The SFM program requires both an appropriate site and a willing community. Theddlethorpe in Lincolnshire has also established a community partnership.
The plans have drawn huge criticism and anger from anti-nuclear campaigners, but the government says a GDF is the solution to housing hazardous radioactive waste.
Karen Wheeler, Deputy Chief Executive of Nuclear Waste Services, says in the report: “Developing a GDF to dispose of our most hazardous radioactive waste will be one of the biggest infrastructure projects the UK has ever seen. . This highly technical facility will generate long-term opportunities for the eventual host community, its local economic region and beyond.
“It will also make a major contribution to the environment by safely disposing of waste that would otherwise have to be stored and preserved for thousands of years above ground.”
The report refers to plans in Sweden for a GDF. It is written: “Residents of the local communities have consistently voted in favor of the project.
The move means that Sweden’s largest and most important environmental protection project is now progressing to the construction phase, triggering investments of over £1.5 billion, which will create around 1,500 opportunities employment in the region.
“When fully developed, in the 2080s, the repository will have space for more than 6,000 spent fuel cartridges.”
A Nuclear Waste Services spokesperson added, “The report provides a national picture and, at this early stage in the process, is not specific to any region. Based on this generic review, NWS commissions further detailed analyzes to understand the requirements of specific regions.
To read the report, click here.