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NDA Welcomes Extended Role in Nuclear Waste Disposal
25 October 2006
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority welcomes its extended role as the single UK body responsible for implementing geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste, as announced today by Government.
The decision, announced by UK, Scottish and Welsh Environment Ministers, widens the NDA's remit to now oversee the full cycle of nuclear waste management and disposal.
NDA Chief Executive, Dr Ian Roxburgh, said:
"We welcome this decision as it heralds a new era for nuclear waste management in the UK, setting out a clear path towards deep geological disposal as supported by the NDA.
"We are pleased to take on the responsibility for providing a national integrated approach towards the recovery, treatment, storage, transportation and ultimate disposal of the UK’s higher activity radioactive waste. This builds on our existing accountability under the Energy Act for low level waste disposal.
"We regard this further responsibility as a measure of the Government’s confidence in our ability to work with our stakeholders to implement a long-term radioactive waste management option for the UK.
"The NDA continues to work hard to build trust for safe and environmentally responsible nuclear site clean-up, and there are clear benefits in terms of knowledge and accountability for us taking on similar responsibility for waste disposal.
"We already work in an open and transparent way and we will ensure we continue to do so in taking forward the challenge Government has set us to plan and develop a geological disposal facility.
" In consultation with Government, regulators and stakeholders, the NDA will now start planning a detailed programme to take the geological disposal concept forward.
Commenting on the Government's proposal to transfer the shares in United Kingdom Nirex Ltd to the NDA, Dr Roxburgh said:
"Nirex staff have carried out important research and repository development work and have provided valuable advice to both industry and latterly to CoRWM for which they deserve credit. There is tremendous technical expertise which would be of great assistance to us in taking forward the geological disposal concept, and we plan to talk to Nirex staff as soon as possible to discuss with them the opportunities that would lie ahead in a restructured NDA."
Today's announcement was made as part of the Government's response to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management report published on 31 July 2006. The NDA supports CoRWM's findings which included the recommended approach to geological disposal, making waste storage arrangements compatible with the likely disposal timetable, and stakeholder and community engagement processes.