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Children Get Interactive with Geological Disposal

December 1, 2021

A group of 43 children from St Gregory’s Primary School in Workington and Our Lady and St. Patrick’s Primary School in Maryport have taken part in an interactive learning session with the Allerdale GDF Working Group and the University of Sheffield.

James Mansfield, a Scientist and Science Communicator from the University of Sheffield, delivered two hands-on sessions to the Primary School students aged 10 and 11.

Using illustrations, games and experiments, the children were encouraged to consider how their electricity is made and how waste is generated. Specifically, how electricity can be made in nuclear power stations and the effect that nuclear waste may have on their local environment.

Students were also introduced to the science behind geological disposal and the engineering methods that would be used to construct a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

Topics covered were linked to the school curriculum and included elements of Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Geography.

The session was delivered in partnership with Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) and the Primary Business Partnership at the Centre for Leadership Performance, which provides a ‘matchmaking’ service between primary schools and businesses in Allerdale and Copeland.

RWM Community Engagement Coordinator, Alison Beard who supported the event said: “Young people are really important stakeholders in the conversation around GDF and the Working Group want them to be able to access all the information and support they need to properly understand it.”

“James did a fantastic job of explaining and illustrating the science behind Geological Disposal in a way that was fun and engaging. The experiment they did to explain the multi barrier system (the combination of man-made and natural barriers that would isolate and contain radioactive waste) was really effective and the Lego GDF was a big hit! All the students took a real interest and seemed to hugely enjoy the session.”

We hope more sessions like this will be delivered in other schools throughout the Search Area, as we continue our engagement work and encourage local people to take part in the conversation about whether Allerdale could be the right place to build a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) – and whether a GDF would be right for Allerdale.

Leesa Osborn, a Year 6 teacher at St Gregory’s said: “We were delighted to be contacted by the Primary Business Partnership, offering a workshop in school run by RWM and the Allerdale GDF Working Group.”

“The children had the opportunity to learn all about different types of electricity. The workshops were fun, informative and engaging and the children loved taking part. In my experience, this is the best way for children to learn and to remember key knowledge.”

“Wherever possible, we try to provide engaging learning experiences, so we valued the opportunity to work with the Primary Business Partnership, RWM and the Allerdale GDF Working Group. It is so important for our pupils to have the opportunity to meet positive role models from local businesses, to broaden their horizons and bring their learning to life.”

Any schools within the Search Area who are interested in taking part in a similar session should contact the Primary Business Partnership – info@pbp.org.uk