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Nuclear Waste Site Proposal for East Yorkshire Coast

Thursday, 25 January 2024 12:21

By Joe Gerrard, Local Democracy Reporter

Nuclear waste could be stored beneath Holderness on the Yorkshire Coast in a facility which would operate for up to 175 years, under proposals unveiled today

Government agency Nuclear Waste Services has announced south Holderness is one of four potential locations being looked at for a new Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) hundreds of metres underground.

Agency Chief Executive Corhyn Parr said benefits could include thousands of jobs and transport improvements but it would only go ahead with the express approval of the local community.

East Riding Council Leader Cllr Anne Handley said the establishment of a new Working Group was the first step to seeing whether the facility would be right for the area.

The launch of the South Holderness GDF Working Group means the area is now one of four being looked at, along with two in Cumbria and one in Lincolnshire.

If it goes ahead, it would see nuclear waste from power plants and other sources stored between 200m and 1,000m beneath south Holderness within a network of vaults and tunnels.

Steve Reece, Nuclear Waste Services’ GDF siting lead, said they were looking at south Holderness because geological formations below it are well-suited and for the area’s economic potential.

He added their preference for transporting nuclear waste by train could also mean a new railway line for the area which once had a route from Hull to Withernsea.

The facility would operate for up to 175 years before being filled in and turned over to another use on the surface, possibly farming or industry.

Building it could create up to 4,000 jobs while up to 2,000 could be employed while the facility is operational.

Nuclear Waste Services states that GDFs are the safest and only internationally-accepted way to manage radioactive waste in the long term.

Similar facilities are currently planned or are being built in Finland, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Canada.

They are preferred over above ground storage which requires ongoing maintenance and will eventually need to be rebuilt.

But proposals for south Holderness or any of the other potential sites are set for a local engagement process which will last for a three to four years.

The Working Group launched today is set to run for six to nine months to look at potential locations and engage with locals, including through a series of public events.

If south Holderness continues to be looked at it could see a pot of £2.5m created for investment in the wider community.

Any final proposal for a site is not likely to be tabled for at least another decade and it could take as long as 15 years.

And before plans get to that stage there will have to be a ‘Test of Support’.

It means it would only go ahead if those affected give their express support to the site though the details of the exercise have not been outlined.

Nuclear Waste Services Chief Executive Ms Parr said they were looking forward to meeting local people to provide more information and answer their questions.

The chief executive said:

“South Holderness joins three other communities involved in the GDF siting process who are already learning more about this vital project and the benefits and opportunities it could bring, such as the creation of thousands of jobs and opportunities for investment in local infrastructure.

“This is a consent-based process, meaning if the community does not express support for a GDF it won’t be built there.”

Dr David Richards, independent chair of the Working Group, said it would be tasked with finding out more about the GDF and giving the community a chance to share its thoughts.

The chair said:

“My role as Chair is to make sure local communities have access to information and to understand what people think about a GDF.

“We look forward to meeting local people and listening to their views.”

Cllr Handley said the council accepting the invitation join the GDF had opened up the discussion about the proposals.

The council leader said:

“Understanding what a GDF is and exploring the associated benefits is critical to the decision-making process for any community, because it will ultimately be the local community who decide.”

The upcoming public events on the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF):

Date  Venue  Address  Public opening times
Thursday, February 1 Patrington Village Hall   Church Lane,  

Patrington,   

HU12 0RJ 

11.30am – 6.00pm
Friday, February 2  The Shores Centre  29-31 Seaside Road Withernsea

HU19 2DL

11.30am – 6.00pm
Thursday, February 8  Aldbrough Village Hall  Recreation Field

Garton Road  

Aldbrough  

HU11 4QA

11.30am – 6.00pm
Friday, February 9  Easington Community  Hall  The Square 

Easington  

HU12 0TU 

11.30am – 6.00pm
Monday, February 12  Burstwick Village Hall  Church Lane

Burstwick  

HU12 9ES 

11.30am – 6.00pm

 

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