A GROUP representing the Berkeley community has given its backing to plans to receive radioactive waste from Oldbury Nuclear Power Station by road.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is considering sending 142 containers from Oldbury to Berkeley Nuclear Power Station’s new storage facility by lorry.
A national geological disposal facility is expected to be built by 2040 but until then, to reduce the cost associated with the construction of temporary storage plants, the agency is proposing to keep the waste in Berkeley.
If stored at the newly-constructed Interim Storage Facility (ISF), it would require 100 lorry trips over seven years, expected to be done outside of peak times.
The move is favoured because it is thought building a news storage facility at Oldbury would cost around £15million and, if the plans get the green light, the nuclear waste would start moving sometime in 2017.
With the consultation period now over, the NDA is expected to make a decision by the Summer.
In an agreed statement to the NDA, read out at a meeting of the Berkeley Site Stakeholder Group, chairwoman Penelope Wride, said that Berkeley was not the only site being asked to store other plants’ waste.
“While it is accepted the safety risks are minimal, the public relations aspects are very significant in that many residents will consider that Berkeley will be seen as becoming a nuclear dump,” she said.
“Therefore there is a need for recompense to the community for this perception in the form of substantial community benefits for as long as the waste is stored.”
Meanwhile the continued decommissioning of Berkeley Power Station is going ahead as planned, with site director Steve McNally stating that safety performance “remained exceptional”.
Magnox, the company licensed to decommission the plant, is continuing to remove Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) from the station's underground vaults, and has so far removed 9,600 litres.
Mr McNally added the site had been given positive feedback from The Environment Agency’s nuclear regulation department.
“We’re really pleased with the progress made, which will carry on for the rest of the year,” he said.
Internal regulator Adam Davis said his report of the site and the surrounding area showed that the average radiological dose of the nearby community showed it was well below the average dosage for the UK population from all sources of radiation.
The Berkeley station was the first nuclear plant to begin decommissioning in the country after it stopped generating in 1989 and is expected to be completed by 2079.