A Letter of Thanks to the Swedish Environment Court for Saying No to Geological Disposal of Nuclear Wastes

Courtesy: Radiation Free Lakeland

On the 23rd January 2018 the Swedish Environment Court gave the thumbs down to the Swedish equivalent (SKB) of the UK’s quango Radioactive Waste Management (RWM previously Managing Radioactive Wastes Safely previously NIREX) tasked with implementing Geological Dumping of nuclear wastes

The Swedish court said it could not recommend that their Government agree the application for a Geological Disposal Facility (Nuclear Underground Dump) unless and until the industry can prove that the copper capsules that would contain the spent nuclear fuels would not leak.

Sweden and Finland are regularly put forward by RWM and the UK Government as the fore-runners of the ‘international consensus’ on deep waste repositories.

Radiation Free Lakeland have sent a letter of thanks to the Swedish Court and a request to the Environment and Justice Ministers of Sweden that the Courts findings are upheld.  We urge our own UK government to abandon the dishonest and dangerous plan for “Implementation”  of Geological Disposal. There is yet another sham consultation going on by Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) to “implement” Geological Dumping by finding a “volunteer” community.   There may never be a “permament solution” and this needs to be acknowledged by our government independently of  the implications for new nuclear build.  New nuclear build is dependent on a “permanent solution” for existing and future wastes..

Dear Minister Morgan Johansson,

Please uphold the findings of The Swedish Environment Court which has rejected a proposed final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark, Sweden.
We are writing to you from Cumbria in the UK. We are a voluntary group called Radiation Free Lakeland who were formed in 2008 to fight Geological Disposal (Dumping) of nuclear wastes in Cumbria, UK.

New nuclear build in the UK is absolutely dependent on “finding a home” for existing and new build waste. The findings of the UK Flower report “Nuclear Power and the Environment”, was released in September 1976 . One of the recommendations of the report was that:

“There should be no commitment to a large programme of nuclear fission power until it has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that a method exists to ensure the safe containment of longlived, highly radioactive waste for the indefinite future”.

The findings of your Environment Court indicate that safe containment of long lived highy radioactive waste into the indefinite future does not exist and that the best we can do is commit to repackaging and monitoring the waste at or near the surface. To put radioactive wastes out of the reach of generations to come also means that we are denying future generations the ability to protect themselves and the biosphere from radioactive wastes when the containers corrode. Even gold corrodes under heat and pressure!

We agree with the findings of the Court and we would suggest that now is the time to abandon Geological Disposal as a “solution” to be “implemented” but to acknowledge that the research is an intergenerational work in progress.

Please honour the Swedish Court’s decision and abandon Geological Disposal as an applied method. Maybe someday there will be a containment system that will actually contain high level wastes into eternity but that day is not now.  

Yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby

on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland


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