HL Deb 13 February 1980 vol 405 cc308-9WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How they propose to dispose of the radioactive waste arising from nuclear power stations, whose number is to be increased, in view of their statement of 24th January 1980 that they have no plans for the underground disposal of nuclear waste.


My statement on 28th January in reply to a Question from the noble Lord referred to the high level liquid radioactive waste which results from the reprocessing of spent fuel. It is expected that these wastes will be solidified in glass blocks from about 1990 onwards, after which they will be stored on or near the surface for a further period to continue to cool. In the meantime, three possible methods of disposal —into geological formations on land, on the bed of the deep ocean, and under the ocean bed —are being researched with the aim of comparing their relative merits in about 10 years' time.

At present the Government have no commitment to any method in preference to another. Although the feasibility of disposal methods has yet to be demonstrated, research carried out so far supports the confidence, expressed in the Sixth Report of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (Cmnd. 6618, September 1976), that an acceptable solution will be found.