Office for Nuclear Regulation

Communications with councils exploring hosting a geological disposal facility (GDF)

Date released
23 March 2021
Request number
202102071
Release of information under
Freedom of Information Act 2000

Information requested

Please could you send me under Freedom of Information Act 2000 copies of all the all email or other communications made with Allerdale and Copeland District Councils respectively in respect of their initial interest shown in exploring the possibility of hosting a Geologic Disposal Facility for radioactive waste within their boundaries; what financial resources have been committed to date by ONR in support of the interest expressed by these two councils; and what resources have been set aside for such support during 2021?

Information released

I can confirm that under Section 1 of the FOIA we do not hold the information you have specifically requested, but in the spirit of openness we believe there is some information we hold that may be pertinent to your request.

Some information has been redacted because it is personal data and has been withheld under Section 40 of the FOIA. This is an absolute exemption so does not require a Public Interest Test.

Communications made with Allerdale and Copeland District Councils

I can confirm that we have not had any direct contact with either Allerdale or Copeland Borough Councils in respect of their initial interest shown in exploring the possibility of hosting a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) for radioactive waste within their boundaries.

However, we have had contact with the independent Allerdale and Copeland Working Groups, which have been formed recently to engage with the respective local communities to start discussions on siting a GDF. The Working Groups have members who represent the Allerdale and Copeland Borough Councils.

Please find attached correspondence from ONR to the Working Groups:

Financial resources committed and planned for Allerdale and Copeland Working Groups

Our involvement to date has been limited to staff attendance at the initial meetings of each Working Group. We are committed to providing future support to these groups and are currently awaiting further information from them on their plans for stakeholder engagement. This will then allow us to determine what input may be needed from ONR; therefore it is not currently possible to indicate the specific level of resource that will be deployed. Any work to support these groups is charged to Radioactive Waste Management Ltd (RWM), the organisation responsible for establishing a GDF.   

It is important to note that ONR and the Environment Agency have no role in decisions to select potential sites for a geological disposal facility, and to maintain independence, we are not members of these Working Groups.

Exemptions applied

Section 40

PIT (Public Interest Test) if applicable

N/A