'Once you are a nuclear dump, you are forever' and 13 more things you said about Hartlepool being used to store radioactive waste

Readers have been reacting to news that Hartlepool, has been identified as a potential site for underground storage of the UK's radioactive waste.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 12:10 pm
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 12:18 pm
An artist's impression of what a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) could look like above and below ground.

A nationwide process is underway to find a site somewhere in England or Wales suitable for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

A survey of geological data says rocks of a suitable type and depth are present in Hartlepool and Teesside, as well as elsewhere in the North East.

An artist's impression of what a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) could look like above and below ground.

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Radioactive Waste Management Ltd (RWM), which is leading the project to develop the facility on behalf of the government, stressed it will only be built where there is community support.

It is believed there may be greater support in Hartlepool due to the town already having a nuclear power station, which has an expected decommissioning date of 2024.

Our readers were quick to react to the story when we shared it on the Hartlepool Mail Facebook page - and not everyone dismissed the idea out of hand.

Colin Noble said: "This has been considered before, when they wanted to use the anhydrite mines in Billingham.

Hartlepool already has an understanding of the nuclear industry, having had an electricity-generating power station since 1983. Pic: Adele Wilkinson.

"Personally, as an engineer, I'd need to see a lot more information before any decision is made, but I don't think it should be ruled out without further study."

Paul Frankland agreed:"Would have thought the ex-ICI mine site at Billingham would have been ideal."

Paul Grant said: "If it brings in jobs, then why not?"

Mark Swales thinks the damage may already have been done by the area's industrial past: "Who knows what we are sitting on now?, I wouldn't worry."

A diagram showing how deep radioactive waste would be stored underground.

Shaun Goodrich added: "Might as well. The number of landfill sites and the amount of 'recycling' plants we have, it's not gonna make much difference."

Michael Rennie: "The regulations and checks that come with nuclear waste should make this a great coup for the town. What I'd like to know is, what's in it for Joe Public?"

Others were more cautious, with Daniel Wright commenting: "Regardless of any economic short-term benefit, the stigma associated with nuclear waste storage would damage the town irreversibly.

Health problems of the sort allegedly associated with the Sellafield nuclear plant in west Cumbria are of concern to some readers.

"Once you are a nuclear dump, you are forever (or at least for a half life of thousands of years). Incredibly bad idea."

Robert Downie Ewen was of the same opinion: "How’s about doing this in Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire? We don’t want this in our town, you can have it."

Paul Nedley was another who is concerned about the long-term effects nuclear waste storage might have: "Google the words 'Sellafield health concerns'."

Paul Baker added: "Just goes to show what our hierarchy thinks of us. We already have tremors from gas exploration. So it makes perfect sense to dump it here rather than old mining areas.".

Richard Lees: "It will happen, whether we like it or not. Money talks."

Kathleen Verrall: "That's right, make Hartlepool a dumping site. Well, no thank you. Dump it under the House of Commons!"

A couple of readers managed to see the darkly funny side, however.

Lee Rourke said: "I've said for ages we need to do something about the crime in the town, but bombing the place is a bit extreme."

And Paul Steadman wrote: "Hartlepool, the only town on Earth that will be visible from the Moon!"