CoRWM shortlist revealed

15 August 2005


The UK's Committe on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) has released its shortlist of four long-term management options for the country's intermediate- and high-level radioactive wastes. A final recommendation will be made to government in July 2006.

The shortlist:

  • Long-term interim storage.
  • Deep geological disposal.
  • Phased deep geological disposal.
  • Near-surface disposal (for limited volumes).
CoRWM was set up after the previous strategy was rejected by then environment minister John Gummer on the grounds of 'flawed science' at the core of the project which involved geological disposal beneath the Sellafield site.

CoRWM's strategy has been to consult extensively with stakeholders across the country to demonstrate full independence. The committee's members were chosen from outside the core nuclear industry.

Committee chair, Gordon MacKerron said: "Through our consultation process, we have been able to reduce the options to those that are most likely to pass rigorous technical scrutiny and inspire the greatest public confidence. We are now in a position to assess each of these four options in greater detail and test them against the criteria that the public and stakeholders believe are most important, using a range of assessment methods also broadly approved by our consultees."

CoRWM's July 2006 final report could be crucial to the future of the UK nuclear industry. It is hoped that positive movement towards a final solution for the UK's waste problems could come at the same time as real results from the national decommissioning agenda, providing a boost in public support. Prime Minister Tony Blair's government may then take that opportunity to open a national debate on energy, climate change and in particular the question of wether Britain wants a new wave of nuclear power stations.




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