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Prevent, protect, consult – the NFLA (Nuclear Free Local Authorities)’ three priorities for UK radioactive waste policy

The UK Government has its priorities ‘all wrong’ in its proposals for the future management of radioactive substances and nuclear decommissioning, so says the UK/Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities in its response to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s consultation on its proposals for the future management of radioactive substances and nuclear decommissioning.

Instead of an emphasis on cutting costs and reducing the burdens on the nuclear industry as DESNZ would like, the NFLA believes that government and the nuclear industry should do everything necessary for the protection of human health and safeguarding our natural environment – whatever the cost.

To the NFLA, government policy and industry practice should focus upon three main tenets:

  • Preventing the creation of more radioactive waste, by not building any more nuclear power plants, by closing and decommissioning existing ones as quickly as possible, and by not revisiting mad-cap schemes that have failed before, like repurposing plutonium as reactor fuel, which creates yet more waste and risks nuclear weapons proliferation;
  • Protecting the public and the natural environment, by ‘concentrating and containing’ existing waste on or near the surface on the sites where it was created or is currently stored and having a policy of active ongoing management, with the facility of retrieval if waste is stored below ground. This is opposed to government policy which for high-level waste is focused upon transportation by rail to a Geological Disposal Facility into which the waste would be deposited and forgotten about and for lower-level wastes is one of ‘dilute and disperse’, which involves incineration releasing radiation into the atmosphere or dumping into municipal waste tips or discharging it into rivers or oceans.
  • Consulting the public, over the storage and treatment of radioactive waste, and its transportation if this should continue, and also educating the public on the radiological risks attached to these activities; all too often consultation is tokenistic, not inclusive and not open, with the nuclear industry still conducting much of its business behind closed doors.

The author of our response was Pete Roche, the NFLA Policy Advisor (Scotland). Pete has over fifty years of environmental and anti-nuclear campaigning experience, having first been involved in protests against the construction of the Torness Nuclear Power Station in the 1970s.

The NFLA’s full response can be read at the end of this media release [on original]; it amounts to a resounding ‘No’.

The DESNZ consultation is still open for public comments until 24 May 2023.

The consultation papers can be found at

For more information, please contact NFLA Secretary Richard Outram by email on or mobile 07583097793

The response by the NFLAs to the DESNZ consultation


May 11, 2023 - Posted by | UK, wastes

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