No new Notice of Planning Development for AWE has been published by West Berks. Council by 16th May. Progress at the AWE building sites for the IT and accommodation block is reported, although no HSE notice has been lodged.
AWE Nuclear Waste
AWE stores its ILW from decommissioned weapons and plant on site. This waste is growing and AWE has a practical interest in a solution being found to the national storage problem. However the MoD does not want the new National Decommissioning Authority [National Nuclear Power and Decommissioning Authority would be a more accurate title] to include military waste in its remit, although the NDA says it is willing to accommodate it in its plans.
AWE at Committee on Radioactive Waste Management Meeting
AWE was well represented at a recent nuclear waste Stakeholders Round Table in Reading as part of the CORWM Consultation. The meeting, organised by the Environment Council, was the second round of public engagement set in train by Margaret Beckett in 2003, as Secretary for State at DEFRA. The brief was to consider a shortlist of possible options for dealing with nuclear waste; criteria for assessing these options and what matters in the implementation of any strategy. The four CORWM Recommended Options were:
· Long-term interim storage
· Near-surface disposal of short-lived wastes
· Deep geological disposal
· Phased deep geological disposal
Unfortunately this meeting of AWE, MoD, Local Authorities, Regulators heavily outnumbered the NGOs present. It recommended that burying waste below the seabed be re-instated as an option, after it had been rejected by CORWM following its first round of public consultations last year. Politics and the Law were dismissed as "unscientific" and not disciplines to be respected. Ethics did not fare well either, being considered to cover only ‘understanding different view, being meaningful and attracting public confidence’. In other words, ethics is about being polite and pragmatic and not ‘the accepted principles of right and wrong that govern the conduct of a profession.’ [On-line dictionary definition.] Worse, finding a solution for waste was seen as a positive drive towards new build, with no reluctance to express this view. The view that society should not require workers in the nuclear industry to create and work with radiation on our behalf any more than it should expect someone to press the nuclear [weapons] button was not accepted by the majority.