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Ministerial Correction

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Energy and Climate Change

Radioactive Waste

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the selection of a site for the storage of radioactive waste from existing and former nuclear sites; and if he will make a statement. [149683]

[Official Report, 26 March 2013, Vol. 560, c. 1063W.]

Letter of correction from John Hayes:

An error has been identified in the written answer given to the hon. Member for South Down (Ms Ritchie) on 26 March 2013.

The full answer given was as follows:

Mr Hayes: The UK's higher activity radioactive waste is currently held in safe and secure storage facilities at various nuclear sites around the country. Government set out its approach to implementing a geological disposal facility (GDF) to dispose of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste in the 2008 White Paper “Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: A Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal”.

The Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) process is based on the principles of voluntarism and partnership. It is a staged process, one in which potential host communities 'decide to participate' (without commitment) in site identification and assessment for a potential GDF. To date, no sites have been selected. The Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) programme is a very long-term one, and Government remains confident that a suitable site for a GDF will be found.

The current invitation remains open for volunteer communities to express an interest, without commitment, in the MRWS process. At the same time, Government has been working to learn the lessons of the recent experience gained in west Cumbria—as the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change affirmed in his written ministerial statement earlier today, will launch

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in May a public call for evidence on the site selection process of the MRWS programme. The evidence provided in response to this call will inform a public consultation later this year on how this process might be improved.

With regards to the recent experience in west Cumbria, both Copeland and Allerdale borough councils decided to proceed to site identification and assessment, however, Cumbria county council did not. Since Government had given a specific commitment in west Cumbria that there should be agreement at both borough and county level before progressing to the next stage, this decision brought the existing site selection process to an end in west Cumbria.

The correct answer should have been:

Mr Hayes: The UK's higher activity radioactive waste is currently held in safe and secure storage facilities at various nuclear sites around the country. Government set out its approach to implementing a geological disposal facility (GDF) to dispose of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste in the 2008 White Paper “Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: A Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal”.

The Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) process is based on the principles of voluntarism and partnership. It is a staged process, one in which potential host communities 'decide to participate' (without commitment) in site identification and assessment for a potential GDF. To date, no sites have been selected. The Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) programme is a very long-term one, and Government remains confident that a suitable site for a GDF will be found.

The current invitation remains open for volunteer communities to express an interest, without commitment, in the MRWS process. At the same time, Government has been working to learn the lessons of the recent experience gained in west Cumbria.

With regards to the recent experience in west Cumbria, both Copeland and Allerdale borough councils decided to proceed to site identification and assessment, however, Cumbria county council did not. Since Government had given a specific commitment in west Cumbria that there should be agreement at both borough and county level before progressing to the next stage, this decision brought the existing site selection process to an end in west Cumbria.