Kent nuclear waste bunker proposal considered

3D cutaway of proposed Romney Marsh Nuclear Research and Disposal Facility The Romney Marsh Nuclear Research and Disposal Facility would see waste buried hundreds of metres underground

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A bunker used to store nuclear waste from all over the UK could be built in Kent, under a council's plans.

Shepway District Council is examining whether a nuclear disposal facility, where waste is buried underground, could be built at Romney Marsh.

The authority said it could bring jobs to the area as Dungeness A and B power stations are phased out.

However, Kent County Council said it would use "every tool in the box" to oppose the scheme.

The Romney Marsh Nuclear Research and Disposal Facility would be buried 200m (656ft) to 1,000m (3,280ft) below ground.

'Opportunity to decide'

Councillor David Godfrey, who is leading the project for Shepway District Council, said the authority did not have a formal view about the facility and would consult with residents before submitting an expression of interest to the government.

Romney Marsh Nuclear Research and Disposal Facility

  • The facility would be built between 200m (656ft) and 1,000m (3,280ft) below ground
  • Waste would be stored in secure containers buried within the rock
  • Once full, the facility would be permanently sealed
  • Supporters claim geological disposal keeps the waste secure from terrorists

"Our only view is that local people should be given the opportunity to decide for themselves if it is worth discussing the idea further," he said.

According to the council, when Dungeness A and B are fully decommissioned in either 2018 or 2023 the area will lose 1,000 jobs and an estimated £46m a year from the local economy.

It believes the scheme could bring skilled employment for hundreds of people "over many decades".

Council leader's 'horror'

The leader of Kent County Council, Paul Carter, said his authority opposed the plan and would push for a county-wide referendum if necessary.

"We are totally opposed to initiating any process that even entertains the possibility of building a nuclear waste disposal site anywhere near or around Kent," he said.

"We will do everything possible to oppose this unviable proposal and will use every tool in the box to bring an end to this scheme.

"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 on this."

Shepway District Council will hold a series of public exhibitions over the next three weeks detailing the proposals.

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