The quest to find an appropriate place for the storage of nuclear waste is set to continue in Copeland as the area's council has voted to participate in the siting process further.

Copeland Borough Council's executive voted on October 14 to participate in Community Partnerships which will explore the idea of storing nuclear waste deep underground in two areas of the borough.

Copeland GDF Working Group identified two Search Areas within Copeland in September, one in the electoral wards of Gosforth, Seascale and Beckermet and another in the electoral wards of Millom, Black Combe and Scafell.

Search Areas are considered in closer detail for a GDF - Geological Disposal Facility.

And following their decision to join the Community Partnership, Copeland Council will participate in the work to consult with the public and consider locations within the Search Area for the facility.

Portfolio holder for Nuclear and Corporate Services David Moore said that exciting challenges are ahead: "I think our community is probably the most nuclear savvy community in the whole country.

"I think it's important that we as a community recognise we need to find the right place for it. It's incumbent on us to find the right place for it."

80 per cent of the nuclear waste likely to be stored in the underground facility will be from Sellafield.

Gosforth and Seascale is also councillor Moore's ward, he said: "Those were areas that had potential for land so we're looking at head workings. Our main search is still off-coast.

"Off-coast is preferable providing the right geography is found."

Identifying a Search Area does not guarantee a GDF will be built in the region but that further investigation will take place to determine if the there is a suitable location there.

Copeland GDF Working Group Independent Chair, Mark Cullinan, said: “We welcome the decision from Copeland Council’s Executive Committee and look forward to working together with the council, Radioactive Waste Management and the community as we move towards forming two Community Partnerships in Copeland.”

But not everyone is in favour of storing nuclear waste underground. Marianne Birkby, of the Radiation Free Lakeland group, is strongly against an underground geological disposal facility.

She said: "Our position is that it should be contained above ground, not deep underground.

"Our remit is to oppose GDF anywhere because the science doesn't exist to safely put nuclear waste underground for any length of time."