A secret list of 12 sites considered for burying nuclear waste, including some near built-up areas, has been released under the Freedom of Information Act after being kept under wraps since the 1980s.
Although Nirex, the nuclear disposal company, said the programme was abandoned eight years ago, anti-nuclear campaigners yesterday warned the sites could be examined again.
They were: Bradwell and Potton Island, Essex; Stanford, Norfolk; Killingholme, Lincolnshire; two in Sellafield, Cumbria; Dounreay and Altnabreac in Caithness; and the Fuday and Sandray islands in the Outer Hebrides. Offshore sites near Redcar, North Yorkshire, and Hunterston on the Clyde were also considered. The waste is now stored at 34 locations around the UK awaiting a decision on long-term disposal.
Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "Nirex has made it quite clear that each of the sites considered geologically suitable in the past could be considered suitable in the future. Every community named should take steps to help halt plans to expand nuclear power in the UK."
Nirex's managing director, Chris Murray, said: "Radioactive waste exists and needs to be dealt with. It is as much an ethical and social issue as a scientific and technical one. This is the key lesson we have learnt. Openness and transparency must underpin everything."