‘It’s too dangerous!’ Locals express fear over plans for major nuclear waste disposal site

‘It’s too dangerous!’ Locals express fear over plans for major nuclear waste disposal site

The prospect of burying radioactive nuclear waste in the South Holderness region of East Yorkshire has stirred significant apprehension within the local community.

South Holderness, characterized by its rural landscapes of coast and farmland, has emerged as a potential site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) due to the geological suitability of the area’s underlying rock formations.

Under the proposed plans, a network of vaults and tunnels, situated deep underground or potentially under the sea, would be constructed to securely bury and contain Britain’s radioactive nuclear waste, allowing it to decay safely over the course of centuries.

Nuclear waste, stemming from various sectors including medicine, defense, industry, and research, necessitates safe and secure storage. Nuclear Waste Services is evaluating the feasibility of establishing a GDF in South Holderness, alongside sites in Cumbria and Lincolnshire.

Steve Reece, Head of Siting for the Government agency, emphasizes that GDFs represent the safest and internationally-accepted approach for the long-term management of radioactive waste. However, local residents have expressed concerns regarding the potential environmental and safety implications of such a facility in their community.

The proposed GDF could potentially generate significant economic benefits, including the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs during construction and operation, apprenticeship schemes, and training opportunities. Additionally, if plans proceed, the local area could receive up to £2.5 million annually in funding.

However, it’s essential to underscore that the establishment of the facility is contingent upon the express consent of the community. To facilitate engagement and dialogue, a working group has been established to conduct public events and gather feedback from residents.

While some locals acknowledge potential benefits, such as job creation and waste management, others remain skeptical about the safety and suitability of the proposed site. Concerns range from environmental impacts to property values and the overall suitability of South Holderness for hosting such a facility.

Campaigners like Lynn Massey-Davis, representing South Holderness GDF Action, vehemently oppose the disposal of nuclear waste in their region, advocating for investment in alternative economic endeavors such as small businesses, agriculture, tourism, and leisure.

Conservative MP Graham Stuart is advocating for a referendum on the scheme, asserting that local residents should have the final say on whether to proceed with the GDF project. He emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the process benefits the local community and alleviates concerns about safety and environmental impact.

The South Holderness Working Group, comprising members including East Riding Council, will continue its operations for the next six to nine months, providing information to residents and researching potential GDF locations. Subsequent phases will involve community engagement, site investigation, detailed planning, and a final decision on whether to proceed with construction.

Ultimately, the establishment of a GDF in South Holderness represents a complex and multifaceted issue, balancing economic opportunities with environmental and safety considerations, all while ensuring meaningful community engagement and consent. Similar facilities are being planned or constructed in various countries worldwide, highlighting the global importance of responsibly managing nuclear waste for future generations.

source: https://www.gbnews.com/news/yorkshire-fear-nuclear-waste-disposal-site

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