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Govt response to CoRWM: UPDATE to Could Do Better: Indie Experts Grade Govt GDF Plans

i Apr 17th No Comments by

Following publication of CoRWM’s Annual Report (see story below), the Government’s response has now been published.

Nothing to surprise in the response, but the Government did provide a little more information on the public outputs of the national geological screening exercise, saying:

“The National Geological Screening outputs will not definitively rule all areas as either ‘suitable’
or ‘unsuitable’ .  At the simplest level there will be plain English summaries of the geological information for each region, illustrated with maps showing areas that may include volumes of appropriate
lower strength sedimentary rocks (e.g. clay), higher strength rock (e.g. granite) or evaporite
rocks (e.g. salt) at the appropriate depths for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). These will
be accompanied by more detailed regional and sub-regional reports that explain the
relationship of the basic geological information to the safety of a GDF in each area. These will
also be supported by short, explanatory video clips intended to explain technical terms for nongeologists.”

Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) have indicated that these guides are likely to be published with a suite of other relevant information when they relaunch the siting process.

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The Annual Report of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) has been published.  CoRWM is an independent panel of experts which monitors the Government’s geological disposal programme and how it is being implemented by the appointed delivery body, Radioactive Waste Management (RWM).  You can access the 2016/17 Annual Report here.

Although CoRWM notes that good progress has generally been made, it has a number of reservations and recommendations.  Some of these are technical or administrative, but others are of particular concern to GDFWatch, and are matters which will need closer scrutiny during 2018.  These include:

  • RWM’s organisational and managerial capability to implement the programme
  • potential conflicts of interest — RWM’s parent body, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), is also RWM’s primary customer
  • RWM’s ability to communicate and engage effectively with external groups and organisations
  • the visibility of Regulators in the community engagement process, and the independence of community access to third-party experts

Neither the Government nor RWM have yet responded to CoRWM’s Annual Report.  We will be closely watching how they do respond and address the issues above, and will keep you updated.

 

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