Following today’s news that Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) is exploring the possibility of installing a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) in South Holderness, Graham Stuart (Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness) is calling for a local referendum on the controversial scheme.
South Holderness has been selected by Nuclear Waste Services due to its unique geology as a potential site for a facility to store nuclear waste.
Upon the news becoming public today, Graham met Dr David Richards, chair of the working group, to press his residents’ concerns.
Graham asked residents for their questions, and Dr Richards answered those he could, and promised a follow-up for those which he did not yet have answers for.
Following the meeting, Graham met Cllr Samantha Whyte (Mid Holderness) to discuss the scheme. He is arranging a further meeting with councillors in affected areas and will speak to parish and town councillors to get their views.
Just for engaging in the conversation with NWS, South Holderness could stand to receive £1 million a year.
If the initial studies are successful and exploratory drilling takes place, that could rise to £2.5 million a year for a local community benefit fund.
The site itself would be around one square kilometre at the surface, most likely accessed by a new rail line.
That would lead to a 36 square kilometre facility up to one thousand metres below ground where the waste would actually be stored.
The project would be very long term, with the initial working group, chaired by Dr Richards, set up to ‘start the conversation’ with residents over the coming 6-9 months.
It is likely that the facility itself would be in the consultation and planning phase for another ten years.
Commenting, Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart said: “Everyone in South Holderness is right to be concerned about the possibility of a nuclear waste facility in our area.
“I am too. That’s why I’m very clear that if Nuclear Waste Services want to build its facility at our back doors, it must be with the consent of local people.
“They are required to get local consent and I want that to be the toughest available test: a referendum of residents in the affected area.
“Only once that is agreed will we start to listen to what Nuclear Waste Services have to offer.”
Cllr Samantha Whyte said, “I’m grateful to Graham for keeping Holderness councillors informed about this project.
“It absolutely must be for local people to decide whether this is right for them, and that should be through a referendum.”
Dr David Richards, Chair of the Working Group said, “I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to start the conversation with Graham, and the wider community.
“I want to give residents every possible opportunity to have their say on this important project, and am happy to work with the MP, councillors, parish and town councils and all other stakeholders to make sure everyone has the information they need.”
Answers to residents’ questions from Dr David Richards, Chair of the Working Group
Why Holderness? Why isn’t this being put on a remote island?
The geology for a facility such as this has to be right. Most of the facility would be far underground, with only around one square kilometre at the surface.
Is this safe?
Yes. It’s been used in the past and is considered to be the safest method to store nuclear waste in the world.
How will the material be transported to the site?
Most likely on a new railway, which would not be exclusively for the waste.
Who will develop the site and who will be the caretakers?
Nuclear Waste Services will be the developers. It’s too early to say who would maintain it, but it is estimated that around 2,000 people would be employed at the facility.
How much nuclear waste are you suggesting to store there?
750,000 cubic metres of packages waste.
How big would the site be?
One square kilometre at the surface, around 30 square kilometres would be 200-1000 metres underground.
What guaranteed safety measures are in place in case there is a leak?
I will provide further information from Nuclear Waste Services.
Can you guarantee that no construction or development of the site will begin until the project has local approval?