WITH parts of Wales being considered as possible sites to bury radioactive waste, Ceredigion County Council has reiterated a long-standing nuclear-free commitment.

A motion was approved by the council in July, 2006 which made a commitment that the council would be a nuclear free local authority. Another commitment was made to support sustainable alternatives to nuclear power.

Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn proposed the motion in 2006 and is now the leader of the council. She said: “Nothing has changed in the council’s approach to nuclear power. It’s clear to us that most Ceredigion residents don’t want nuclear sites in the county.

“The council passed a motion 13 years ago committing to be nuclear free. We remain committed to that and will not welcome any radioactive waste in Cardigan Bay.”

Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) - set up by the UK Government - is on the look-out for a suitable site in which to dispose of radioactive waste.

England and Wales have been divided into sub-regions which could potentially house an underground geological disposal facility (GDF).

Geological disposal involves placing waste in sealed vaults and tunnels deep underground, beneath several hundred metres of solid rock.

This allows radioactivity to decay naturally over time, and prevents it from reaching the surface in levels that could cause harm, says RWM.

It takes many tens or even hundreds of thousands of years for radioactive waste to decay to harmless levels.

Radioactive waste is currently stored at more than 20 surface sites around the UK, which are designed to withstand severe weather and earthquakes for up to 100 years.

But these stores need to be continually monitored and eventually will need to be replaced, or the waste moved elsewhere.

RWM is now seeking “willing communities” to come forward if they are interested in being considered for the GDF.

These communities stand to benefit from huge investments – up to £1m a year once a partnership has been formed, rising to £2.5m a year for areas where deep borehole investigations take place.

In addition, RWM says, “there will be hundreds of well-paid jobs every year for over a century with further opportunities for the local supply chain”.

Local projects, public facilities and infrastructure will also benefit from the extra funding, it says.

Canada, Finland, France, Sweden and Switzerland are already investigating building their own GDFs.

But the process will not happen overnight.

Detailed site investigations may take up to 15 years, as suitable sites will need to have sufficiently stable underground rock formations to contain radioactive waste, and will need to be free from potential oil, gas or coal drilling.

RWM anticipates that it would then take around 10 years to construct the first vaults within a facility

Anyone interested in finding out more can attend one of two public meetings. They will take place in Swansea on Tuesday, March 12, and in Llandudno on Thursday, March 14.

For more details visit http://bit.ly/2GmIdAU or gov.uk/guidance/site-evaluation-consultations-public-events