Hartlepool council chiefs rule out major radioactive waste store coming to town

Hartlepool Power Station.
Hartlepool Power Station.

Hartlepool council chiefs have ruled out putting the town forward as a place to store radioactive waste in a multi-billion pound government project.

The Mail exclusively revealed on Thursday how the town had been identified as potentially suitable to build a deep underground radioactive waste storage facility due to the kind of rocks present here.

Radioactive Waste Management Ltd have just started a nationwide search for a willing host site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

It would be used to store all of the UK’s intermediate and high activity radioactive waste, which comes from the nuclear industry and other sources, for 150 years.

Project leaders have written to all of the council leaders and chief executives in England and Wales including Hartlepool’s.

But Hartlepool Borough Council says it has no plans to talk to them about the project.

A council spokesperson said: “We have had no direct contact with the consultants about their conclusions or the implications of such a site for the people of Hartlepool.

“Whilst we understand that Hartlepool could be a suitable site due to its geology, we have no intention of expressing an interest.”

A report of Radioactive Waste Management RWM) said the layers of rock salt around Hartlepool and Teesside made the area suitable for such a facility where the sealed waste would be stored at a depth of between 650ft and 3,280ft.

A RWM spokesman said while the three types of suitable rock exist in much of England and Wales, it is believed the final host community will already have some knowledge or experience of the nuclear industry.

Hartlepool Power Station, where radioactive waste is already produced and stored, is due to be decommissioned in 2024.

The scheme is the first Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NISP) that requires the consent of the host community.

The spokesman said: “We will not do it do a community, we will only build it with their consent.

“We are looking for communities that want to come and talk to us.”

Project leaders say significant economic benefits would go to the place that decides to host the facility including jobs, new facilities and infrastructure spanning several generations for over 100 years.

Radioactive waste is currently produced and stored at a number of sites around the UK.

In December, the Government launched a new policy to find a place to build a single underground facility.

Several other countries already have or are further ahead in plans for similar storage facilities.