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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Independence vote calls for nuclear rethink

COPELAND’S MP has raised concern about the future disposal of Scottish nuclear waste at Sellafield – if the country votes for independence in September.

Jamie Reed says that, in the event of Scottish independence, new arrangements would have to be made for radioactive waste from across the border scheduled to be stored at Sellafield.

Mr Reed, who has written to Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, said: “This is clearly of huge importance to my constituents and the whole of the UK and we now need to discuss the details of potential divorce in a considered, constructive and amicable way.

“In the event of separation, a strategy for dealing with Scottish radioactive wastes is inevitable. This includes the identification of a physical location for storage and disposal, creation of the necessary support infrastructure, workforce training, regulatory framework and more.

“Existing policy prevents higher activity wastes from Scotland coming to England. In the event of separation, under international law, all radioactive materials, including the plutonium stocks held at Dounreay, would be prevented from coming to England.

“Separation clearly raises considerable issues too regarding the spent fuel from the Hunterston and Torness reactors. This is currently destined for long-term storage at Sellafield, prior to being disposed of in a geological facility (wherever this might be sited).”

A spokesman for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said: “If there is a yes vote, nuclear issues, along with other strategically important matters, will be determined by negotiations between the Scottish and UK governments.”

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