A report from the Science and Technology Committee of the UK’s upper legislature, the House of Lords, has expressed serious concerns that recommendations for an independent body to oversee the country’s geological waste disposal programme have been “watered down,” while government proposals for the next phase of its Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) programme are “incoherent and opaque.”

Final recommendations from the UK’s Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) were largely accepted by the government, but instead of setting-up an independent body to oversee the programme, the government now plans to set up an independent advisory body, the “new CoRWM,” which is causing concern in the Lords’ committee.

The committee recommends an independent, statutory body, independent of day-to-day government control and accountable to Parliament, with overall responsibility for implementing the geological disposal programme saying: “In particular, any proposals regarding site selection must be given full and careful consideration, rather than being rushed through in a matter of months.” The report concludes: “The government must acknowledge these deficiencies and seek to rectify them by establishing clearer lines of accountability and independent, expert scrutiny.”

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