UK back to the drawing board on nuke waste

Government launches six-year programme of consultation, research, towards long-term policy

UK environment minister Michael Meacher today took the country back nearly two decades in its planning for long-term management of radioactive waste, saying the government wanted to "start from scratch" to develop a new policy. Following a multi-year programme of in-depth public consultation and research, the earliest a formal decision on a disposal route could now be made is 2007.

Like all other countries with civil nuclear power programmes, the UK has struggled to decide how to deal with medium-level radioactive waste, which can remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years. The last attempt to develop a deep underground storage facility was blocked in 1997, leaving government policy rudderless (EED 18/03/97).

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