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Welcome

A warm welcome to the Allerdale Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) Community Partnership website and thank you for taking the time to visit.

Here you can access a range of resources and information to help you understand more about the Community Partnership and Geological Disposal, including what a GDF is, why it’s required and what it could mean for your community. You’ll also find all our latest news. We will continue to update this site as the project develops and more information becomes available.

We are keen to encourage applications for Community Investment Funding and details of criteria and how to apply can be found HERE.

As Interim Chair, I’ll be in place for the first few months to help establish the Community Partnership. We’ll be taking forward discussions with you and your community about whether Allerdale could be the right place to host a GDF, and whether a GDF would be right for Allerdale.

I look forward to continuing the conversation, meeting local people and listening to your views.

In the meantime, if you have questions or comments, please get in touch via the Contact Us page.

Mary Bradley

Interim Chair

 

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What is a GDF?

A Geological Disposal Facility, or GDF, is an underground facility designed to safely and securely dispose of our radioactive waste – specifically ‘higher-activity’ waste (the most radioactive kind).

It involves building a series of specially designed and engineered vaults and tunnels deep underground. It could potentially be three times deeper than the height of the Shard in London, Britain’s tallest building.

Once the waste is placed inside a GDF, the facility will eventually be permanently sealed. The way the facility is designed and engineered means it can be sealed to protect people and the environment for hundreds of thousands of years, without needing any maintenance, while the radioactivity fades away naturally.

Making sure it is safe

Scientists and other authorities all over the world agree that a GDF is the safest way to deal with ‘higher-activity’ radioactive waste (the most radioactive kind) for the long term. This international consensus comes after decades of scientific research.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency will review the designs for a GDF, the proposed site, and the science that informs them, to make sure it protects people and the environment. A GDF will only be built if it can be shown to be safe for both people and the environment. As soon as construction starts on a GDF, the site will have to meet strict safety standards.

Which area is being considered?

Allerdale GDF Working Group identified the initial ‘Search Area’ within which RWM will seek potentially suitable sites for a GDF.

The Search Area incorporates the electoral wards of Aspatria; Broughton St Bridgets; Dalton; Ellen & Gilcrux; Flimby; Harrington & Salterbeck; Maryport North; Maryport South; Moorclose & Moss Bay; Seaton & Northside; St John’s; St Michael’s and Stainburn & Clifton.

The Lake District National Park is excluded from the Search Area, as is the Solway Coast ANOB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Further information can be found on the ‘Finding a Suitable Site’ tab.

Now that the Community Partnership is formed the initial ‘Search Area’ will be narrowed down and the community will be engaged in discussion via the Community Partnership throughout this process.

Who is part of the Community Partnership?

The Allerdale GDF Community Partnership currently comprises of an independent, Interim Chair and representatives from Radioactive Waste Management (RWM), Allerdale Borough Council, Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC), Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and Inspira.

For more about our Community Partnership members, click here.

Community and choice

The Community Partnership will continue the conversations that the Working Group started, work to develop a vision for the future of the community and provide answers to people’s questions.

Then much later, when everyone’s had plenty of time to get informed and make up their minds, there will be a Test of Public Support. This will take the form of something like a poll or referendum that lets people in the electoral wards around the proposed site have their say about a GDF. Without their support, the project will not go ahead.

Initial prospective members of the Community Partnership have been identified by a selection panel of Working Group members, but further prospective Community Partnership members may be invited to join by invitation or application through an open and transparent process, with the aim of forming a membership that is reflective of the community in the Search Area.

Further detail can be found in the ‘Community Partnership Members – Attributes and Role Profiles’ page.

What is a GDF?

A Geological Disposal Facility, or GDF, is an underground facility designed to safely and securely dispose of our radioactive waste – specifically ‘higher-activity’ waste (the most radioactive kind).

It involves building a series of specially designed and engineered vaults and tunnels deep underground. It could potentially be three times deeper than the height of the Shard in London, Britain’s tallest building.

Once the waste is placed inside a GDF, the facility will eventually be permanently sealed. The way the facility is designed and engineered means it can be sealed to protect people and the environment for hundreds of thousands of years, without needing any maintenance, while the radioactivity fades away naturally.

Making sure it is safe

Scientists and other authorities all over the world agree that a GDF is the safest way to deal with ‘higher-activity’ radioactive waste (the most radioactive kind) for the long term. This international consensus comes after decades of scientific research.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency will review the designs for a GDF, the proposed site, and the science that informs them, to make sure it protects people and the environment. A GDF will only be built if it can be shown to be safe for both people and the environment. As soon as construction starts on a GDF, the site will have to meet strict safety standards.

Which area is being considered?

Allerdale GDF Working Group identified the initial ‘Search Area’ within which RWM will seek potentially suitable sites for a GDF.

The Search Area incorporates the electoral wards of Aspatria; Broughton St Bridgets; Dalton; Ellen & Gilcrux; Flimby; Harrington & Salterbeck; Maryport North; Maryport South; Moorclose & Moss Bay; Seaton & Northside; St John’s; St Michael’s and Stainburn & Clifton.

The Lake District National Park is excluded from the Search Area, as is the Solway Coast ANOB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Further information can be found on the ‘Finding a Suitable Site’ tab.

Now that the Community Partnership is formed the initial ‘Search Area’ will be narrowed down and the community will be engaged in discussion via the Community Partnership throughout this process.

Who is part of the Community Partnership?

The Allerdale GDF Community Partnership currently comprises of an independent, Interim Chair and representatives from Radioactive Waste Management (RWM), Allerdale Borough Council, Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC), Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and Inspira.

For more about our Community Partnership members, click here.

Community and choice

The Community Partnership will continue the conversations that the Working Group started, work to develop a vision for the future of the community and provide answers to people’s questions.

Then much later, when everyone’s had plenty of time to get informed and make up their minds, there will be a Test of Public Support. This will take the form of something like a poll or referendum that lets people in the electoral wards around the proposed site have their say about a GDF. Without their support, the project will not go ahead.

Initial prospective members of the Community Partnership have been identified by a selection panel of Working Group members, but further prospective Community Partnership members may be invited to join by invitation or application through an open and transparent process, with the aim of forming a membership that is reflective of the community in the Search Area.

Further detail can be found in the ‘Community Partnership Members – Attributes and Role Profiles’ page.

Overview of siting process

This interactive diagram explains more about the GDF siting process.

Overview of siting process

This interactive diagram explains more about the GDF siting process.

Your Community Partnership will:

Agree a programme of activities

Agree a programme of activities

A Programme of Activities is the work that will be carried out by the Community Partnership in order to learn more about a GDF and what this may mean for this community.

Provide guidance for access to Community Investment Funding

Provide guidance for access to Community Investment Funding

Community Investment Funding recognises the long-term nature of the GDF project, and that the benefits associated with jobs, infrastructure and major investment may not materialise until the project has been running for several years. The Allerdale community will initially have access to £1 million per year, rising to £2.5 million per year if the project progresses to technical investigations requiring deep boreholes.

Share information, listen to and address community questions

Share information, listen to and address community questions

The Partnership is primarily here to be the key vehicle for dialogue with the Allerdale local community and RWM, in a process that will take several years. We are here to continue the conversation with local people and enable them to find out more, explore the issues, and continue to have their questions answered.

Advise on community Right of Withdrawal and Test of Public Support

Advise on community Right of Withdrawal and Test of Public Support

The residents of the area around any proposed GDF site would have the final say on whether they want to host a facility, in what is known as a Test of Public Support, and the Community Partnership will oversee this. The elected local authorities on the Partnership can also withdraw the area at any point in this process, right up until the Test of Public Support.