Repository problems prompt changes in radioactive waste policy

Several significant policy changes were announced in a consultation paper on radioactive waste management issued by the Department of the Environment (DoE) on 5 August.1 The difficulties which have beset efforts to find a site for an underground repository for low- and intermediate-level wastes, coupled with pressure from the Treasury to delay its construction on cost grounds, have prompted two major proposals. One is that some low-level wastes currently sent to the nuclear industry's specialist landfill should now go conventional landfills - and the second is to drop a policy established eight years ago not to dispose of intermediate-level wastes to landfill. The Government has also proposed that high-level wastes should be placed in a repository after 50 or more years in storage.

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