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COUNCILS RENEW OPPOSITION TO RADIOACTIVE WASTE DUMPING IN LOCAL LANDFILL

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Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLAs) today renewed their call for a clear statement from government ruling out lo...
Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLAs) today renewed their call for a clear statement from government ruling out local landfill for large scale radioactive waste dumping by the nuclear industry and the ministry of defence. The call comes on the day the House of Lords publishes the findings of its year long investigation into the way forward for radioactive waste management in the UK.

In evidence last year to the lords investigation ministry of defence

witnesses said they had '...no nationally approved disposal route given the reluctance of local authorities to sanction disposal at landfill sites. We recognise this as a difficulty which has to be overcome...'. (emphasis added)

Nuclear industry pressure within Europe for landfill disposal is also

building. The 1996 Euratom Basic Safety Standards Directive, currently

being transposed into law into UK, allows the government to raise permitted concentrations of radioactivity in contaminated materials which can be legally disposed of without regulatory control. This would pave the way for huge volumes of low level wastes, arising from future decommissioning of redundant nuclear facilities, to be dumped at landfill sites across the country.

The European Commission's recent fourth report on radioactive waste

management also points to landfill saying: 'It is important to achieve a common set of rules at EU level for the clearance for the large quantities of declared radioactive waste that will eventually exhibit very low levels of residual radioactivity.'

NFLAs are concerned that 'single market' pressures within Europe will level down regulatory control to that of the worst EU member states and open the way for greater deregulation in radioactive waste disposal.

A spokesman for NFLAs said: 'Local government fought off proposals for

landfill disposal of nuclear industry wastes in 1995. We are worried that what could not get through the 'front door' then, could creep in through the 'back door' now.'

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