Theddlethorpe GDF Working Group sheds light on ‘myths and misconceptions’

The Theddlethorpe GDF Working Groups’s community engagement manager has addressed some of the most common ‘myths and misconceptions’ about the proposals for a radioactive waste disposal facility on Lincolnshire’s coast.

How the proposed radioactive waste disposal facility might look.
How the proposed radioactive waste disposal facility might look.

Kate Atha, the Theddlethorpe GDF (Geological Disposal Facility) Working Group’s community engagement manager, explained: “During recent engagement events, a number of visitors have made statements about the GDF which are factually incorrect.

“For people in the area to make an informed decision, the Working Group has taken these comments on board, looked into the detail, and aims to clarify such points.”

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According to Ms Atha, here are some of the common myths and misconceptions about the plans, with her clarifications provided below:

Claim: There will be an exclusion zone of three kilometres around the site – people won’t be able to use the beach.

Kate: “There will be no ‘exclusion zone’. “Like any nuclear licensed site, there would be a security fence around a GDF surface facility, but no “exclusion zone” beyond the site boundary as has been claimed by some people.

“The former gas terminal site doesn’t impact upon access to the beach, so if that site was to be considered for re-use, access to the beach would not be prevented.”

Claim: Rail lines can’t be used for passenger trains if used for transporting radioactive materials.

Kate: “That’s not true. Safe transportation of nuclear materials by rail is being done routinely across the UK rail network – it’s been done safely, without incident for decades.

“Trains transporting flasks containing nuclear materials (such as spent fuel from power stations to Sellafield) use the same lines as freight and passenger trains and operate across most of the UK rail network.

“Direct Rail Services Limited (DRS), a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, is a world leader in the transportation of nuclear materials by rail and has safely transported spent nuclear fuel for over 20 years, travelling over five million miles.

Claim: The GDF will take nuclear waste from other countries.

Kate: “GDF is for UK owned radioactive wastes only.”

Claim: Community Investment Funding goes to the council, not local people”

Kate: “No, it doesn’t. The Community Investment Funding cannot be used by councils to fill shortfalls in their budgets.

“Once a Community Partnership is formed, Community Investment Funding of up to £1 million per community per year will be available, rising to up to £2.5 million per community, per year, for communities when deep investigative boreholes take place. This funding is available, to those communities within the identified ‘Search Area’ around which the Community Partnership would be formed.

“The Search Area cannot be smaller than an electoral ward boundary, therefore people and organisations living within the Search Area can submit applications for funding of local projects.

“If communities make use of the funding available, it does not commit them to hosting a GDF. Also, regardless of where the GDF is located, this money does not have to be paid back.”

Claim: The area has already been determined as unsuitable by RWM due to presence of hydrocarbons underground

Kate: “The presence of hydrocarbons and coal in parts of East Lincolnshire do not make the whole of this area unsuitable.

“In line with International Guidance and UK Regulator requirements, RWM will undertake a detailed assessment of the risk of future human intrusion for any specific area being considered.

“This will consider the specific location, depth and nature of these potential resources and assess the likelihood and potential consequences of any future attempts to abstract them.

• Visit: theddlethorpe.workinginpartnership.org.uk for further information about the proposals, and visit the LincolnshireWorld website to read the response from the ‘Guardians of the East Coast’ campaign group.