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Campaigners slam £1m incentive to store nuclear waste via The Guardian

Compensation offered to encourage local communities to allow test boreholes is described as ‘completely inadequate’

MPs from both major parties have attacked the government’s latest incentive to entice communities into volunteering to host Britain’s first deep underground store for nuclear waste as “completely inadequate”.

Ministers have offered up to £1m per community for areas that constructively engage in offering to take part in the scheme, and a further sum of up to £2.5m where deep borehole investigations take place.

The aim is to find a permanent underground geological disposal facility (GDF) that could store for thousands of years the waste from Britain’s nuclear energy and bomb-making programmes. The scheme could involve building stores under the seabed to house highly radioactive material. It is predicted that the UK is likely to have produced 4.9m tonnes of nuclear waste by 2125.

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In 2012 the government’s attempt to encourage local areas to host nuclear waste facilities ended in failure when councils in Cumbria and Kent rejected proposals for underground stores to be built within their boundaries. These were the only communities to show significant interest at the time and remain the main candidates for sites now that the government has relaunched its nuclear store programme.

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The government is seeking to dispose of the UK’s nuclear waste underground because current storage facilities are both ineffective and expensive to maintain. A GDF would involve sealing the waste in rock for as long as it remains a hazard.

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