Need help with questions to ask at meeting tomorrow on nuclear geological repository (UK)

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posted on Jan, 7 2011 @ 06:07 PM
Hi all, as stated in the thread title, I am attending a meeting tomorrow to discuss proposed plans for a geological repository in my home county (West Cumbria, UK).

The meeting is designed to find out public opinion on the matter and I am putting together notes and questions to put forward to the developers.

Basically, they want to dig an underground storage facility for all the UK's nuclear waste, and West Cumbria is (in their opinion) the best place as 70% of the waste is already here at the Sellafield reprocessing plant.

If you live in the UK and have an opinion, or can recommend a question that I can ask, please feel free to leave it here and I will include it in my notes, even if you live outside the UK, any questions you can recommend will be useful and appreciated.

I am personally against the idea, however I am going with an open mind, and hopefully I, with your help, can make a decent contribution to the discussion.

As I am currently trying to get my notes together (just gone midnight, meeting is at 9:45am), I might not repsond to this until I get back from the meeting tomorrow, however, I will be checking for replies and I will print a copy of the thread to take with me in the morning.

So thanks for and help and input, and I will let you know how it went.

Here is a link to the local council website which tells a little about what it is:

Geological Repository

In case it isn't available outside the UK here is a quote:

A Geological Repository is an engineered underground containment facility or ‘geological disposal facility’, which is designed in such a way that natural and man-made barriers work together to prevent and/or minimise the escape of radioactivity. It is inevitable that some radioactivity from the facility will eventually reach the surface. But the disposal facility is designed to ensure that this will not happen for many thousands of years, and even then only in quantities that are insignificant compared to the levels of radioactivity all around us in the environment from natural background sources. At this early stage in the process it is not possible to specify exactly what a geological disposal facility will look like. The detailed layout and design of the basic geological disposal facility, both above and below ground, will be tailored to the waste inventory for disposal and the geography and specific geological characteristics at the site in question. The dimensions of the underground areas of a geological disposal facility will be determined by the exact inventory for disposal, the properties of the host rock and the geometry of features within it. Nevertheless indicative geological disposal facility dimensions have been estimated for an inventory similar to the ‘CoRWM baseline’. Those estimates indicate that the underground area of host rock required (i.e. the ‘footprint’) for an Intermediate level waste/low level waste disposal facility would be of the order of 1km², and for a HLW and spent fuel disposal facility (assuming that the latter were treated as a waste) would be of the order of 3km². In practice it may be possible to build a geological disposal facility over a smaller area, by building deposition tunnels or vaults on different levels. This would however depend on the geology of the site.

edit on 7/1/11 by woogleuk because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 7 2011 @ 06:19 PM
Well I am not expert but I do have a question: is the repository deep enough to be safe in case of asteroid impact?

posted on Jan, 7 2011 @ 06:23 PM
My main concern would be about long term management of this waste, because it's going to remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years and it's not like you can "stick it down a hole and forget about it". So I'd be interested to see if they guarantee that this stuff will not degrade over the years and leach dangerous elements into the environment ... and I'd be looking to see if they could quote from definitive studies which prove conclusively that, if properly maintained, that there won't be any danger.

And I'd be asking about security too. This stuff is going to have to be guarded, otherwise any fool can take his chances, gather it up and fashion it around explosives to make dirty radioactive bombs. So I'd also be looking for cast iron guarantees that security on this site will be paramount. And I'd be looking for an assurance that the private sector won't be involved in the maintenance of the site or with it's security ... because all they're interested in is profit £££ and they couldn't give a toss about the consequences of their negligence.

posted on Jan, 7 2011 @ 06:27 PM
Ask them why they need to relocate the waste and how secure is it at present.

Ask them about the levels of proposed security and defence measures for the site. They will probably be vague because of course, everyone's a terrori*t but you have a right to know.

How will the waste be transported and through what routes?

How many jobs will it create when being built and when built?

Who exactly will be running the site? Government, military, private etc?

What will be the capacity and what is the estimated timeline for saturation point.

Throw in a "readybrek" comment just for laughs somewhere. (remember the commercials?)

I'll post more suggestions if I have any. Good luck at the meeting and make sure you get the chance to speak.


posted on Jan, 7 2011 @ 06:30 PM
reply to post by woogleuk

Ok. Well although it does not solve their desire to radiate your back yard here are a couple of questions I would ask. Although they would probably fall on deaf ears would ask any way.

1. Why do we not switch to Thorium Reactors. Thorium seems to be the clean alternative and as far as I know it is possible to convert an existing reactor.?

2.Why not use fission/fusion model to break down existing nuclear waste instead of burying and leaving our
Grand-kids to pick up the pieces later?

These seem much better alternatives than burying our waste in the ground , which in turn will get into the water table, thus causing further complications (which will be denied)

Also I suppose I would add a little rant that the government is willing to bail out corrupt banking systems yet is unwilling to invest in the energy infrastructure on such a level.. Where is the moral and sustainable sense in that?

Just my opinions, have a good meeting
Take care
edit on 7-1-2011 by maythetruthbeknown because: (no reason given)
edit on 7-1-2011 by maythetruthbeknown because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 7 2011 @ 06:34 PM
Who in this room can absolutely 100% guarantee
that this vast tub of Deadly toxins will not leak out
and slowly kill everyone who is in this very room ?

posted on Jan, 7 2011 @ 11:26 PM
People are generally far too excitable and afraid of radioactivity as opposed to other hazards.

That said, the primary question to ask is this: can the casks/modules of waste be retrieved once they are deposited?

The reason: it is technically possible (and ought to be done) to transmute the longest lived radioactive wastes (actinides) into much shorter lived wastes via a fast neutron reactor or accelerator.

So really there is no long term need to store things for tens of thousands of years, just a few hundred (if this recycling is done), which is far more secure geologically.

posted on Jan, 8 2011 @ 12:12 AM
Two words:

Water Table.

For long term storage to be secure, the site must lie well above current and predictable high water table levels. If it isn't then water damage to the containers could eventually release radioactive materials into the very thing that damaged them: YOUR WATER SUPPLIES!

If pumping or water management is part of the solution I would be very vocal in my opposition. It might work with the infrastructure currently, but who knows what will happen when your grandkids are 40 years old...Nuclear war, Asteroid/Meteorite strikes, Global Cooling...Hell, even good old-fashioned government collapse.
edit on 8-1-2011 by blamethegreys because: to add the second paragraph, 'cause the second paragraph needed to be typed.

posted on Jan, 8 2011 @ 02:31 AM
Some good thoughts and suggestions there folks, thanks very much, I'm setting off shortly to the meeting and I will definatley throw some of them up (The readybrek one might even come up, depends on the mood of the meeting,lol)

I like the hybrid fussion / fission idea, thats on the list, and good call on the water table to the members who suggested it.

They are all good questions, again goes..........

posted on Jan, 8 2011 @ 03:38 AM
Is this the long talked about Nirex facility or another one?

Google radwaste and see for yourself how the waste is prepared for storage. There's hell of alot of work that goes into it and no possibility of leaking and disrupting the water table as it turned to a solid. The drums are tested by crashing ready to be decommissioned diesel locomotives into them at high speed. More damage is done to the train than the flask. Our biggest worry was to try and come up with a symbol that everyone will realise means dangerous radioactive substance in thousands of years from now, in a world where maybe nobody speaks english anymore and nuclear technology is obsolete. It's a safe solution, what's going to make it very expensive is the public enquiry.

posted on Jan, 8 2011 @ 10:44 AM
Ok, I'm back. Several hours of painstaking listening to them waffle on how it will benefit the area financially and boost tourism.

They pretty much said the deals been done and that the meeting was just to make it look like they had consulted the public, they even took photos as proof! lol.

Well, alright, they never said anything along those lines, but I pretty much got the impression thats what it was about.

Location seemed to be the main issue, Sellafield was agreed right round the room as 70% of the material is already there, but there is to be two areas.........the main "above ground" offices and what not, then an underground facility about 1000(!) metres down and 1km in size.

One of the questions they asked was if we thought there would be an issue if the underground part went over into the protected national trust area of the lake district, which, as it is underground, is open for discussion.

Apparently the government (oh the anti-government comments been thrown around made me chuckle) have looked into all other methods of using and / or storing the material and this is the most cost effective method.

Construction will be done over the next 15 years and storage / management over the next 100, after which it we be sealed off and apparently be self sustaining!

As for the Nirex comment by a previous poster, this picks up where it left off, Nirex said West Cumbria was geologically unsuitable for this type of project, but now we (apparently) have the technology and know how to do it.

After 6 hours of listening to that, I need a coffee and fag..............

posted on Jan, 8 2011 @ 11:56 AM
Sorry to hear about it. Sounds like you're all getting railroaded into what TPTB want. Hopefully you have enough folks that want to put up a fight.

Oh...And tourism?! How did they try to spin that? It's not like nuclear waste facilities are the top of anyone's vacation to-do lists, even if guided tours are available. What did they say, all the temp workers spending their money in your town during the buildout?

Seems obvious they are just trying to wave money in your noses to pacify the commoners. Again, what about your grandkids, and their grandkids?
So sorry for your situation.

posted on Jan, 8 2011 @ 01:20 PM
reply to post by blamethegreys

we have had storage of nuclear materials round this neck of the woods since the calder hall incident in the fifties.
a geological impact assessment was conducted i believe in the seventies to decide on how to manage the waste both high level and low level considerations. as i recall, at the time the modelling of the strata showed a steady leeching southwards if the tech at the time was used. then someone came up with the idea of encapsulating the waste into a vitrified medium (glass discs about 10" in diameter), stored in concrete lined drums and stored in the repository.
after selling off our nuclear industry to american interests minus the waste element, it seems what woogleuk attended was the window dressing/pr exercise.
it will indeed bring much needed revenue to the area. i don't know about the tourism claim though! maybe they will set up a roller coaster and a big mac bar!
with the 1 gram nuclear power equivalent to one tonne fossil coal output, it seems that the storage will be the sore point for many years to come.

posted on Jan, 8 2011 @ 09:21 PM
Think about it this way.

The waste from coal plants is being "permanently" stored in your child's lungs and brain.

It is nearly a miracle that the waste products of trillions of kilowatt hours can be stored in solid form in a small location, where few people will hardly ever go..
edit on 8-1-2011 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)
edit on 8-1-2011 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 03:05 AM
reply to post by blamethegreys

They seem to think it will somehow boost tourism as people will flood to the area to watch this thing being constructed? Yeah, I didn't buy that one either.

People hear nuclear and it immediately brings fear, I remember my science teacher telling us a story about a time he spoke to a woman from down south on the phone once and when he mentioned he lived near Sellafield she hung up on him because she thought the radiation could get down the line! Don’t know how true that was, but I could imagine it.

The temp workers and out of town workers were mentioned bringing money to local businesses like B&B's

reply to post by fakedirt

I think you are right about the PR exercise, as I said, when the woman was taking photos for their next booklet, and from the discussion, I got the feeling it was just a show, and I wasn't alone in those feelings.

You mention the Calder Hall incident, I have often wondered about how that affected us, even now, through the 80's and 90's there was a high rate of childhood leukaemia in the area, especially in Seascale which is right next door to the plant.

reply to post by mbkennel

I'm not sure what you are saying here, I may be misreading you, but nowhere they put this 1km facility round here will be an area where no-one goes, unless they can put it under the sea. People camp and hike all over the place here, accidents happen, and if it does, it's going to be nasty. IMO the Lake District is one of the most beautiful places on earth; this has the potential to ruin it, whether environmentally or economically.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 04:11 AM
reply to post by woogleuk

indeed the incident affected many children, plant workers and civillians. there was a lot of workers who were contaminated whilst attempting to bring the pile under control. at the time there were many unknown factors and as the tech was quite basic,protocols were written on the fly.
all the milk produced around the area was disposed of and stringent restrictions were put in place regarding sheep and dairy consumption. many workers put their necks on the line to save others only to suffer the nasty effects for the rest of their lives. it reminded me of the ukraine accident that occured in 86. the nasty cloud that came our way and dumped fizzing warm rain over most of cumbria. i know because i was out in it at the time.
due to my security clearances i have worked at a number of nuclear sites and i will say that the protocols and health and safety are top notch. accidents do happen however after 60 odd years i can say that everything is risk assessed and triple checked.
whether one agrees or disagrees with nuclear power it is here to stay. the repository is to be built and materials will be stored there. hopefully management will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the highest safety standards.
i will say the tourism factor is quite a joke but there will be tourists who will want to check things out. i remember talking to some officials many years ago regarding nuclear power at the site. i was quite naughty in bringing the little jem up about the reactor core behaving unusually during a full moon. a few jaws dropped when this was mentioned i can say! utter silence is the protocol on that one.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 04:19 AM
I suggest the best overall tactic is to look at their risk management log. ANd also look at the business continuity "Invocations" i.e. when they are going to test the key risk areas in a disaster scenario.

Can the material enter the water table? Can the terrorists gain access to the material? The trouble with nuclear power is that the waste management is critical.

Good luck Mate

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 04:59 AM
i remember many years ago considering options on acceptable disposal methods. one area i thought about for a time was a system where the waste could be re-integrated back into the magma through means similar to sub-duction of continental plates. the materials would dissipate and dilute just like as they were found. with radioactivity already present in the crust and core the system would allow for an acceptable means of disposal other than concentrating all the material in one place.
i also thought outside the box with regards to future tech enabling us to create focused wormholes and thus disposing of the materials into the sun to be converted back into raw energy. the mind wandered and still does.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 05:06 AM
reply to post by tiger5

with regards to the water table i feel the encapsulation process would lessen the potential impact of leeching.
i also feel that any terrorist attempt on a repository would be thwarted instantly. as for the enemy within, the procurement process for staff etc is the highest standard i have ever come across. no stone is left unturned with regards to ones history and state of mind. even after interviews, one is tailed and ones lifestyle is scrutinised in real time.

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