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Caithness News Bulletins June 2005

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Highland Council Background On Council Decision

Highland Councillors sent out a very clear message today (Thursday) that they will strongly oppose consideration of any site in Highland for a national nuclear waste repository.

They were responding to a report by John Rennilson, Director of Planning and Development, advising them of recent developments regarding radioactive waste management.

Mr Rennilson reported that, in response to a Freedom of Information request, UK Nirex Ltd had confirmed recently that their short-list of sites for a deep radioactive waste repository compiled in the 1980s had included Dounreay and Altnabreac in Caithness. This site selection exercise was subsequently abandoned in 1997.

He also reported that the Government's Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), which is charged with evaluating options for the long-term management of radioactive waste for which there is no agreed long-term solution, has proposed a short-list of four options to take forward to the next stage in the process. These short-listed options include; deep disposal, long-term interim storage, and near-surface disposal of short-lived waste. Site selection for the chosen solution is unlikely to recommence until CoRWM has made its recommendations to UK Government and devolved administrations sometime in July 2006.

The Council unanimously agreed today that because question marks still remain over the safety of the deep disposal for long-term management of radiological waste that it should continue with a robust objection to any suggestion of the use of Dounreay or any other site within Highland for a national radioactive waste repository.

At the same time, it agreed to advise CoRWM that it maintains support for secure long-term interim storage where this is a sub-surface facility built at or near the current location of waste. Regardless, the Council wishes to maintain talks with CoRWM over the proposal technical options for disposal.