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Keep informed with the latest news and developments from the NDA
Government's first annual report welcomed
29 June 2011
The NDA has welcomed the publication of the Government's first annual report on its Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Programme. In the report published yesterday, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) outlined an ambition to see the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) accept its first waste by 2029, around 10 years ahead of the current indicative timeline.
"We welcome the government's commitment to geological disposal and we will explore all options to accelerate the programme" said Bruce McKirdy, Managing Director of the NDA's Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) that has responsibility for design and implementation of the facility.
"We need to recognise that the approach is based on voluntarism and partnership with local communities and we can only move at a speed that local communities believe is reasonable. However, we will look at ways to increase resources allocated to the programme, undertake more work in parallel and transfer technology from more advanced programmes overseas. "
DECC also published a consultation document yesterday on how potential sites for the GDF would be identified and assessed. The Government, which is leading on selection of a suitable site, is committed to a process based on seeking a volunteer community to host the facility and has received three 'expressions of interest' for two areas in west Cumbria. The invitation for communities to come forward to find out more about the siting process remains open. The multi-billion pound project will provide skilled employment for an average of 550 people for over a century.
The reports were launched yesterday at a meeting of the Geological Disposal Implementation Board in London, where Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy, said:
"The UK has a substantial legacy of radioactive waste from a variety of nuclear programmes. This Government will not simply leave it to future generations to deal with.
"The annual report and proposals for identifying and assessing possible sites show that we are making progress in this vital area. I want us to continue to be ambitious in our timescales for delivery. I would like to go forward with the ambition of seeing the first waste put into a geological disposal facility by the end of 2029. I have tasked the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to look at opportunities for accelerating progress."