NUCLEAR AWARENESS GROUP TO CORWM FEB 3rd 2006
AWE Aldermaston is already an Option 1 site (interim storage above ground) without any public consultation. We do not know how much research was done before the ILW stores were put in place. There is a history of ILW being stored at Aldermaston with varying degrees of safety which dates back to 1982 when sea-dumping ceased.
ILW is going to have to remain on site for at least 50 years from what is reported in the papers we have been sent.
AWE is a prime terrorist target and getting more so by the minute as politicians seek to prevent other countries doing what we ourselves are doing. We therefore want AWE to become an Option 3 (protected site) and fast.
Any nuclear sites which are inland and already being used as an ILW store are sitting ducks for an Option 2 or 4 (taking in waste from elsewhere, with or without enhanced protection) – a tempting money-spinner for the management of AWE. While we recognise that a degree of expertise has developed at Aldermaston and that the waste has to go somewhere, we would strongly object to this, and warn that it would bring out the “NIMBY” in the whole of West Berkshire and the Reading conurbation, where unease about proximity to Aldermaston has been a stifled undercurrent for half a century.
Option 5 – interim storage underground – also worries us, knowing that storage space above ground on site is running short, and there is a lot of decommissioning to be done, but also knowing that there is legacy contamination of soil, leaving us with grave fears for the groundwater.
We also worry about the non-geological long-term options for Aldermaston, because of its particular problem of being a terrorist target.
What we are prepared to support is Option 3 (interim storage above ground with enhanced protection) to be followed by storage in accordance with whatever arrangements are made for other ILW. We are not convinced that the concept of “disposal” is a realistic one given the present state of knowledge, and prefer to use terms like “long term storage”.
We hope that it is clear from this that NAG has sought to co-operate with CORWM’s work. However there is a growing concern amongst our membership that the goalposts are changing, and plans are afoot both at Aldermaston for a new generation of nuclear warheads to succeed “Trident”, and throughout the country for new nuclear power stations. These plans may not yet have been officially confirmed, but nevertheless the indications are strong that it is only a matter of time before they are. Clearly, if these plans go ahead they will result in a substantial increase in the amounts of radioactive waste that will be left for future generations.
We wish to register with you that we are not happy about the situation whereby the public are being invited to join in consultations to solve a problem which the Government looks set to add to. We fear that CORWM’s project is in danger of ceasing to make sense with the public .