VIDEO: Theddlethorpe GDF Working Group established to investigate radioactive waste proposal

The Theddlethorpe GDF Working Group has been established today (Tuesday) to begin the process of finding out whether a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) to store some of the UK’s radioactive waste could be feasible in the local area.

A press release on the newly-launched ‘Theddlethorpe GDF Working Group’ website states: “Today, the Theddlethorpe GDF Working Group has been established in East Lincolnshire to start the process of finding out if a multi-billion-pound national infrastructure project to safely manage some of the UK’s radioactive waste in a Geological Disposal Facility (known as a GDF) could be feasible and provide benefits to the area.

“The former Theddlethorpe gas terminal will be an initial area of focus for a possible surface reception facility with potential for the underground facilities to be located in the deep rock layers beyond the coastline.

“Establishing the Working Group is just the starting point for engaging with the local community in a process that will take several years.

An illustrative example of what a GDF surface facility could look like (not specific to any area).

“It’s about starting a conversation with local people and enabling them to find out more, explore the issues, and begin to have their questions answered.

“Any decisions about whether to support a development will be much later following more detailed engagement through a Community Partnership and will need explicit community support.

“This first step is about fact-finding and beginning engagement without commitment. Two similar Working Groups are already established in Cumbria.”

Jon Collins, independent Chair of the Theddlethorpe GDF Working Group, said: “The GDF is a project of national importance and it’s unique in that it can only proceed with two things – a suitable site and a willing community”.

“It’s an emotive and complex topic and I’m committed to making sure people have access to information and that their voices are heard.

“I’m not here to say that a GDF is the right or wrong thing for this area, I’m here to ensure that people in the area around Theddlethorpe not only have access to information but can raise their issues and concerns”.

“As independent Chair I see it as my role to support the start of a long-term process that can make sure the same happens here.”

According to the new website, the Working Group has three main jobs to do.

Firstly, it will start the conversation with local communities about what the GDF siting process involves.

Secondly it will identify a Search Area, which will be the area within which RWM could subsequently undertake feasibility studies.

The final task is to set up the longer-term partnership of local authorities, local organisations, community groups and RWM, called a Community Partnership.

The Working Group members include independent Chair Jon Collins, an independent facilitator, Lincolnshire County Council, Theddlethorpe Parish Council, and Radioactive Waste Management (RWM).

East Lindsey District Council has also been invited to join the group and is currently considering this.

Information leaflets will be sent to local households in the coming days and a programme of walk-in meetings with the Working Group team will start from October 27.

Following today’s announcement, RWM Chief Executive Karen Wheeler said: “We are delighted to see the formation of a Working Group in Theddlethorpe.

“We are looking forward to meeting people, and beginning to answer questions, provide more information and listen to all the different local views so that we can understand them in greater detail.

“The formation of a Working Group is simply the starting point for wider engagement about geological disposal, embarking together on conversations and fact-finding so that together we can understand if there is a site that might be suitable, and if the community might be willing to host a GDF.

“Forming a Working Group does not indicate support for a GDF. Decisions about potentially siting a GDF in Theddlethorpe will be much later in the process and will need explicit community support.

This afternoon, Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, added: “We very much welcome the formation of the Theddlethorpe Working Group.

“The GDF will drive significant investment in the community where it is built and sustain high-quality jobs and skills for a hundred years. That’s a key part of the commitment our industry brings to every place in which we operate.”

• Further details are available on the website: www.theddlethorpe.workinginpartnership.org.uk