Leader Views


Posted on:
26th August, 2020

Why we need one of the largest environmental infrastructure projects in UK

Simon Napper is Stakeholder Engagement Advisor at Radioactive Waste Management. Here Simon gives an insight on the scale and rationale for what will be one of the largest and most significant infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK.

Why we need one of the largest environmental infrastructure projects in UK

"The construction and operation of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) will be one of the largest and most significant long-term environmental protection projects ever undertaken in the UK. It will offer substantial benefits over many decades to the community hosting the facility.

Nuclear technology has been a part of our lives for over 60 years and is used in power generation, industry, medicine and defence. But, like all industrial processes, these activities have created waste.

Surface storage for radioactive waste is safe and secure in the short term, but we need an environmentally sustainable solution to deal permanently with this waste to avoid continually 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. We will do this in partnership with private and public sector organisations.

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 design, construction and operation of a GDF in the UK is a multi-billion pound infrastructure programme offering huge benefits to the host community. A GDF will create and support hundreds of highly-skilled jobs for over a century of operation and construction and help drive local economic growth and prosperity.

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. Training programmes can be set up so that many of the associated jobs can be filled by local people spanning several generations.

The success of this major endeavour depends on finding a suitable site with a willing host community. To do this, RWM will work 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. As a consent-based project, a GDF will only be built where the community has shown it is willing to be the host."

To find out more, please visit the website at https://geologicaldisposal.campaign.gov.uk or contact Simon Napper, Stakeholder Engagement Manager at RWM, simon.napper@nda.gov.uk


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