Romney Marsh could be nuclear waste dumping ground
Nuclear waste from all over Britain could be brought to Romney
Marsh and buried deep underground.
Shepway District Council has this week opened up a major debate
on whether the Marsh should have such a centre, to offset the loss
of up to 1,000 jobs as the Dungeness A and B stations are phased
Alistair Stewart, council chief executive, said: “This centre
would be the first in Britain and the one and only. But it is the
views of the people of Romney Marsh that will carry the weight. If
they say no to this it won’t happen.”
The £12bn centre would be called the Romney Marsh Nuclear
Research and Disposal Facility.
"It is the views of the people of Romney Marsh that will carry the weight. If they say no to this it won’t happen"– Alistair Stewart, chief executive, Shepway District Council
It is a practice already
carried out by other countries, but some local politicians fear the
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins said: “Romney Marsh
deserves a better future than being the dumping ground for all of
Britain’s high level nuclear waste.
“I am concerned that building nuclear store like this and all
the disruption it will cause, will drive other businesses away and
blight the area.”
He adds that in any case no jobs could be created until the
start of construction in 2025 and the centre’s operation from
Mr Collins also fears the project would badly affect the
The land area on the surface of the storage site would cover 250
acres, more than 22 times bigger than Wembley Stadium and the
rubble and debris dug out would be equivalent to the amount brought
out during the building of the Channel Tunnel.
The beach at Dungeness
Lydd Mayor Graham Snell said: “I am against it and I am very
worried about it. We don’t want nuclear waste in Romney Marsh.
There are safety concerns plus the effects from the rail and road
movement that would result.
“It would blight the Marsh and bring down house prices. I don’t
think it would create enough jobs to justify it.
“Also I don’t understand why they are considering Romney Marsh.
This system would need tunnels and there are already ready-made
tunnels from the former coal mines in this country so why not use
Roger Wilkins, chairman of Dymchurch Parish Council and the
area’s district councillor, said: “We are at the very early stages
but at the moment I am in favour of it.
already lived with two nuclear power stations for many years and
this development could provide jobs for the area. Also it could
provide further beneficial developments such as a rail link.”
Cllr Alan Clifton-Holt. Shepway council cabinet member for
economic development, said: “I am certainly in favour of finding
out more about this.
But first of all this project would not go ahead unless it was
safe. As far as infrastructure is concerned it would involved rail
rather than road.
“On the jobs front, with the closure of Dungeness A and B have
to look for alternative employment on the Marsh.”
Cllr Clifton-Holt is also the Romney Marsh ward councillor
covering inland villages such as Brookland, Brenzett and
At this early stage it is not yet know where on the Marsh the
waste site might be.
Any considered place would need geological testing and
would have to be rejected if not considered suitable.
Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, said: "Kent County
Council is totally opposed to initiating any process that even
entertains the possibility of building a nuclear waste disposal
site anywhere near or around Kent.
"We will do everything possible to oppose this unviable proposal
will use every 'tool in the box' to bring an end to this
"I have no doubt that the residents of Kent will share my
horror, and I am
absolutely committed to ensuring the public have their voice heard
"Therefore we will, if necessary, push for a county-wide
referendum, so the unequivocal views of the residents of Kent will
be heard in the heart of Whitehall. We must boot this outrageous
proposal into touch."
He described it as "utter madness" to build the facility in
a relatively densely
populated area, close to London and the Home Counties,
that would involve
the movement of highly hazardous waste though London and the South
He added: "It is also equally irresponsible to consider
constructing such a
gigantic facility in an area which is both an earthquake zone and
the busiest shipping lanes in the world."
What the waste site could
A three-dimensional image
of the proposed Romney Marsh underground nuclear waste centre
A Nuclear Research and Disposal Facility would place
nuclear waste in secure containers deep underground in vaults and
At ground level there would be buildings for research, office
space and transport.
The area would cover about a square kilometre and they may be a
The centre would take waste from other nuclear plants such as
spent fuel and high and intermediate level waste.
Audio: Alistair Stewart,
chief executive of Shepway council
The government is looking for safer ways to store radioactive
by-products from the nuclear industry.
Much of the waste is currently kept above ground and deep
underground is believed to be safer. This is a process called
The waste would be sealed in secure containers, which themselves
would be surrounded by hundreds of metres of rock.
It would slowly decay over time and be secure from the risk of
terrorism. When full the entire facility would be permanently
Most of the centre would be below ground in vaults and tunnels.
The depth would be 200 to 1,000 metres below surface, depending on
the area’s geology.
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