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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

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Millions on way in new nuclear waste deal

A NUCLEAR deal which will see millions of pounds’ worth of community benefits pouring into the area has almost been finalised.

Sending large volumes of highly radioactive materials to Sellafield from Scotland – and other NDA sites – could be worth as much as £16 million but no figures have been confirmed.

However, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has confirmed that it is in the final stages of a massive community benefits deal being struck with Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council.

Arrangements are still to be finalised and the amount of money disclosed, but the NDA’s chief executive John Clarke has confirmed to The Whitehaven News that an agreement is close.

There are also hopes that it might be sealed in time for a Christmas boost to the area.

Negotiations with the councils over a likely community benefits package were started after the NDA decided there was “a clear and compelling” case to move all the radioactive spent fuel from Caithness to Sellafield.

Dounreay’s nuclear reactors are being decommissioned and the community benefits package is likely to be paid into one of two pots, or both. These are Copeland’s own Community Fund and Britain’s Energy Coast which aids West Cumbria generally. A decision has still to be reached.

The NDA already puts £1.5 million directly every year into Copeland’s own fund from the operation of the low-level radioactive repository (LLWR) at Drigg.

Some £10 million was also paid up front.

The Dounreay plan is to move 44 tons of spent fuel by rail for reprocessing over five years.

Mr Clarke said: “There are materials at Dounreay which would be better stored and potentially treated at Sellafield. One advantage is economics, another is security - keeping these materials in fewer locations.

“We already have agreement on some materials we want to move, others are being discussed. At the same time we’ve been in dialogue with the community about appropriate recognition for placing demands on that community.

“We have seen things established through the Copeland Community Fund – LLWR is a good example, so it’s entirely appropriate we have a conversation about appropriate recognition of the role of the community for playing its part in solving national issues.”

Asked whether the money could come through the Copeland Community Fund, Mr Clarke said: “We have to look at the mechanisms, but we’re certainly in dialogue and have been for some time as to exactly what’s done. We’re very happy about that.”

Mr Clarke said he was proud of the significant part the nuclear industry had played through Britain’s Energy Coast helping West Cumbria both in cash and taking part in activities.

Asked whether the NDA could help offset Copeland Council’s drastic spending cuts and potential loss of any of Whitehaven’s leisure facilities (Civic Hall, The Beacon and Tourist Information Centre) John Clarke said: “There’s some work going on specifically led by Sellafield Ltd who have a desire to move people off the site to work elsewhere. Britain’s Energy Coast will always look on what it can do.

“At the NDA we’re trying to make sure we channel our direct involvement as much as possible through Britain’s Energy Coast of which Copeland Council is a key part.

“These are really hard times. We need to work with Copeland through BEC to see what’s the right outcome and what part NDA can play – it’s about making investments in the community to give it some assets that can generate positive economic and social well-being.

“If that’s associated with leisure facilities then great, but not in terms of the actual running of facilities.”

He went on: “There isn’t a simple answer. Energy Coast or anyone else isn’t suddenly going to fill a £2.5 million a year gap in Copeland’s funds, but I think we all need to work together to make sure we maintain as vibrant a community as we can.

“The main thing is I’m certain BEC is keen to play its part to mitigate as far as possible the extent of these cuts.”

Whitehaven Festival stands to get continued nuclear industry backing after next summer’s event ends a three-year sponsorship deal.

Mr Clarke said: “We are keen the festival maintains its viability and its vibrancy. We want to make sure we work with a whole range of people supporting it but will have to look at precisely what amount of money goes in from a Britain’s Energy context – it is an Energy Coast issue.

“One way or another, I am sure there will be appropriate support to make sure the festival stays viable.”

The NDA’s socio-economics manager Brian Hough added: “There is an acceptance that Whitehaven Festival plays an extremely important role in the life of West Cumbria. It does more than just bring economic benefit to the region.”

What would you like to see the community benefits package spent on? Have your say below.

THE nuclear industry puts more than £11 million directly into West Cumbria’s economic coffers every year. This is the split:

Nuclear Management Partners: £4 million (Britain’s Energy Coast) and £500,000 (Cumbria Community Foundation).

Sellafield Ltd: £3.1 million (Energy Coast)

NDA: £2.5 million (Energy Coast) and £1.5 million (Copeland Community Fund).

NDA and Sellafield Ltd also made combined capital investments totalling £30 million into Energus, the Energy Coast campus programme and Dalton Cumbria facility.

Have your say

All part of the push to force a nuclear dump on the people of Cumbria. Mr Clark should put the brakes on the deal to accept Scottish radioactive waste as his confidence that there will be a nuclear dump in Cumbria is premature. The people don't want it and will fight tooth and nail against it. How many times do they have to be told that a nuclear dump in Cumbria will be a disaster waiting to happen, socially as well as geologically? We don't want it here and we'll fight against it. We are not taken in by false promises of jobs and prosperity. What few jobs we gain from a nuclear dump we'll lose tenfold in job losses and damage to tourism as West Cumbrian towns become nuclear ghost towns. Cumbrian politicians should start listening to the people now that the cat is out of the bag on the nuclear dump. If you don't believe it come to the meetings addressed by Professors Smythe and Haszeldine in Maryport and Silloth next Wednesday and Thursday and see for yourselves
Johnny Spand

Posted by Johnny Spand on 17 November 2012 at 10:06

Compensation is meaningless if the land is polluted and the water unfit to drink.

Nuclear grooming has been going on for years, "compensation" is a small part of the grooming techniques practiced on Cumbria over the last few decades. It is reaching fever pitch with a government desperate to be seen to have a "solution" - the solution is to stop reprocessing, end shipments of nuclear waste to Cumbria and put a sarcophagus over Sellafield to try to contain the wastes on site. For 'Decommissioning' read 'Dispersal into the environment'



Posted by marianne b on 8 November 2012 at 14:37

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