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Why a GDF?

Although radioactive waste is stored at nuclear facilities around the country, the bulk of our radioactive waste is already at Sellafield. Its range of purpose-built stores were designed to keep this waste safe and secure for many decades. Nevertheless, these facilities require constant maintenance and monitoring while the radioactivity naturally decays. For some of the waste this will take many thousands of years, so even if well maintained, these surface stores will be vulnerable to natural and human events such as rising sea levels and even the next ice age.

A geological disposal facility (GDF) built up to 1,000 metres in the rock deep underground will contain the waste safely and isolate it from glaciation or future human intervention, until the radioactivity naturally decays and no longer poses a hazard to people or the environment. In essence, a GDF removes any requirement for our descendants to take perpetual care of today’s hazardous legacy.

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 meet these criteria. You can find further help and advice on these independent  regulators’ websites:

Office for Nuclear Regulation

(ONR)the Environment Agency (EA).

You can also find information about the government’s independent advisors on radioactive waste management, the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, (CoRWM).

Below are a series of explainer videos on geological disposal from Radioactive Waste Management which you can also view here

What is a GDF?

There is international consensus that the safest permanent solution to manage higher activity radioactive waste is geological disposal, which involves putting the waste in a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) beneath several hundred metres of solid rock.

The benefits of a GDF

Having a GDF in the UK will create jobs and guaranteed investment for the host community.

How we work together

The process of finding a site for a GDF is consent-based; communities will be able to work in partnership with us, so that people will have the opportunity to create a future that works for them.

Useful materials

Please explore the documents below from RWM - the developer tasked with delivering a GDF in the UK, to read more about geological disposal.

Further information

Please download Allerdale GDF Working Group meeting minutes below.

Promotional materials

Printable assets you can use to promote GDF in your area. These will be available in due course.

GDF, explained

Learn more about GDF via interactive e-learning modules