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Cumbria’s MPs to launch nuclear waste inquiry

CUMBRIA’S six MPs are to launch an inquiry into the likely impacts – good or bad – of an underground nuclear waste repository somewhere in the county.

Surgery: Jamie Reed

The move comes after Cumbria county council, Copeland and Allerdale borough councils put off a site-search decision until January. Firstly the three councils want solid government commitments on key issues.

Meanwhile the all-party committee of Cumbrian MPs plans to hold its inquiry to take evidence and views from all sides of the argument.

The committee consists of Jamie Reed (Labour Copeland), Sir Tony Cunningham (Labour Workington), Rory Stewart (Tory Penrith/Border), Tim Farron (LibDem, Westmorland/Lonsdale), John Woodcock (Labour Barrow), and John Stephenson (Tory Carlisle).

Mr Reed wants the search for a site to start as soon as possible and says the inquiry will help “bust some myths”.

Two of his Cumbrian parliamentary colleagues welcome the chance to closely examine safety and potential risks.

Mr Reed said: “This inquiry will allow expert opinion to be aired from academics, scientists, government departments, academia and importantly those working in the nuclear industry.

“I hope it will help bust myths, expose rampant scaremongering and help to nail what I consider to be lies about the repository discussion. It’s essential the issues are subjected to an informed debate.

“We have a responsibility to make sure that all of our credible individuals, agencies and government departments with an interest in the issue can air their expert views.

“The greater the issues are understood, the more the myths are dispelled and this is clearly better for everyone. The inquiry has no official or binding implications but it will usefully allow the issues to be aired.

“If it’s done honestly I’m sure all Cumbrian MPs will join me in ensuring the nuclear industry in West Cumbria will provide then growth the Cumbrian economy badly needs.”

But Penrith and The Border’s Rory Stewart pointed out: “Very large numbers of constituents have raised concerns about safety is paramount. Equally the nuclear industry is the backbone of the West Cumbrian economy and so we’re keen to support. Therefore we would like to invite representations from both sides of the argument and have the opportunity to hear about the geology and safety of repositories and plans for nuclear expansion.”

The Sellafield Workers’ Campaign plans to make its voice heard.

Secretary Craig Dobson said: “Maybe the MPs can bring new trust to the process – but let’s ensure it’s a real inquiry, evidence- and science-based, not a contest on who can shout loudest or a Mickey Mouse affair held quickly behind closed doors.

“Everybody in the county will benefit from a peer review of the science behind making a site search. The scare stories are beyond belief. Some people are terrified, it’s time for some simple straightforward facts.”

However, Tim Farron said: “Storing nuclear waste in our county that will remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years is a very big risk and one that Cumbrians shouldn’t take lightly.

“Having been contacted by people on both sides of the debate, I’m keen we make a wise choice for the future of our county. It’s vital we listen to experts in this field on both sides of the debate to hold them to account and ensure that government makes decisions on the basis of balanced evidence using the full facts.”

It’s hoped the inquiry will be held this month but as yet no date, venue or format has been fixed.

Have your say

Why does Mr Reed want money wasted on a search and an enquiry when the area has already been shown to be unsuitable? Maybe he would like to raise his profile, will he be needed when Allerdale take over Copeland. He has more chance of selling Calpol.

Posted by It's me again on 1 November 2012 at 21:12

Jamie Reed will force this on West Cumbria no matter what the consequences for the future health of our families.... what Jamie wants,Jamie gets.

Posted by clive on 1 November 2012 at 18:34

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