Implementing plan for geological disposal in the UK

Materials World magazine
7 Aug 2019

The government has published a plan for infrastructure after announcing the completion of actions to implement effective geological disposal in the UK. Shardell Joseph reports.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy (BEIS) has set out a policy statement with a new plan for infrastructure changes in the geological disposal of radioactive waste.

The report National policy statement for geological disposal infrastructure, published in July 2019, came shortly after BEIS announced the completion of the initial actions laid out in a 2014 white paper about implementing geological disposal. Actions achieved included developing land-use planning processes, preparing to work with communities to find suitable locations, and national geological screening.

The actions and plans are part of the government’s overarching policy framework on implementing geological disposal, which includes the policy for how radioactive waste management will engage with local authorities and communities in England to identify a suitable location for a geological disposal facility.

A BEIS spokesperson said such a facility is ‘internationally and independently accepted as the safest and most secure option for disposal of this waste, as recognised and supported by the cross-party BEIS Select Committee.

‘We have listened to views from local communities and these further measures will ensure this facility will only be built where there is public support for it’.

The national policy statement sets out the necessary infrastructure projects to achieve effective disposal of radioactive waste. These include deep boreholes necessary to determine the suitability of a site for a geological disposal facility, and the construction of a facility for the radioactive waste itself.