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Using Sellafield to bury nuclear waste could be 'illegal'


2nd November, 2007

Using the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria for long-term nuclear waste disposal could be illegal, a leading academic has said.

Professor David Smythe, an expert in geophysics at University of Glasgow, told the Guardian that over £400 million had already been spent investigating the suitability of the area for an underground nuclear waste disposal facility, and it had been ruled out on the basis of geology.

Smythe’s concerns are that the Government is now ‘consulting’ with local communities as to who would be willing to host the nuclear waste dump. This could lead to a decision being based on economics or politics, rather than geological science.

Although the Government has stressed that no site has yet been chosen, the long history of nuclear facilities at Sellafield – and some degree of acceptance amongst the local community – make it an attractive choice.

‘To choose Sellafield yet again, by way of community voluntarism, and despite the lessons that have been learned, would be wrong and possibly illegal in international law,’ Smythe said.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist November 2007


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