Target: Greg Clark, Minister, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Goal: Abandon plans to build nuclear waste storage facilities near residential areas.
As more nuclear reactors are built, the problem of storage continues to grow. In the UK, Britain is approaching residents of small towns with cash incentives to greenlight geological disposal facilities or underground nuclear waste storage. The process of choosing a suitable site and preparing and storing nuclear waste is highly technical, but still pose significant risks. This leads to a conflict between residents and scientists and those who support nuclear waste storage facilities. Britain has had a history of councils trying to built nuclear waste disposal sites without the consent of the public, which continues to feed mistrust today.
In 2012, residents and the media exposed a plan to build a 4.5 square meter nuclear facility in Northwest England near residential homes. The facility would hold Britain’s highest-levels radioactive waste; the plan was shut down due to public opposition after it was discovered that the plan were kept secret from residents. Now, local towns across Wales and England are being approached with incentives as high as $3.5 million a year to host the storage facilities, which would be built underground through a multi-barrier safety approach. This process includes turning the waste into insoluble glass, encasing them in steel containers and then sealing them deep underground with cement or clay. The approach provides safety precautions to avoid leakage, but these plans require geological considerations such as water flow.
While many countries have found areas that are suitable, such as Finland’s granite bedrock off the country’s west coast away from people, Britain is struggling to find appropriate areas. An expert claims that one suitable geological area might be one near the large metropolitan area in London and Oxford, but says he cannot see a facility being built there.
To protect residents from potential radioactive disasters, we must ensure that storage facilities are thoroughly assessed before any plans begin. Their safety should not be bought through incentives; it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that clean energy does not jeopardize public health. Sign the petition below to ask Britain’s Minister of Business, Energy, and Industrial Energy to help protect the public from radioactive disasters.
Britain is currently trying to find local towns to house nuclear waste. While most of Britain’s waste sits above ground today, underground waste facilities seem like the safest approach, due to a multi-barrier approach that helps prevent leakage. However, Britain is approaching local towns across England and Wales, offering incentives for towns to house radioactive waste, causing conflict between anti and pro nuclear waste storage facilities.
While underground facilities take safety precautions, there are still risks involved, especially when said facilities are built in proximity to residential areas. These geological sites must be chosen carefully, to ensure that natural conditions do not pose an even higher risk. Finland and Germany provide a positive example of facilities taking into account scientific and political expertise on where the best potential sites are. Britain should follow suit and connect with locals and scientists before beginning projects.
As Minister of the Britain’s Business, Energy, and Industrial Energy, you have a responsibility to ensure the UK has clean, affordable energy, but also to ensure that nuclear energy processes do not jeopardize public health. I hope that before building any nuclear waste facilities, that you take into account public health and scientific expertise. The public should not have to suffer from radioactive disasters that could have been prevented.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: D5481026