Nuclear waste may be buried in caverns

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The Independent Online

Britain's nuclear waste should be buried in deep underground caverns that could take many decades to build, according to the official body set up to advise the Government.

The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management said that until the underground repository was built, the waste should be stored in high-security facilities on the surface which are protected from terrorist attack.

About a third of the land in Britain is geologically suitable for such an underground nuclear waste site but the committee was not asked to recommend which once should be chosen.

"Experience suggests that the development of a disposal facility could take several decades or possibly one or two generations," the committee said in a statement issued yesterday.

Gordon MacKerron, the chairman of the committee, said Britain had been generating nuclear waste for 50 years without any clear idea of what to do with it.

He said: "It means taking action now over the waste we have created and not leaving it for future generations to deal with."

Britain has 10,000 tons of nuclear waste, mainly stored at Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria and Dounreay in Scotland. The waste can remain radioactive for centuries.