LLWR Secures Planning Approval

A far-reaching programme that will create around 120 construction jobs, secure existing posts and ensure the future of the LLW Repository site in Cumbria until around 2050 has received planning approval.

Cumbria County Council planners have given the go-ahead to an application which will enable the phased construction of two new low level radioactive waste vaults and an extension to a third, for the disposal of waste in specially-grouted containers, on the site, near Drigg.

Dennis Thompson, Managing Director of LLW Repository Ltd, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the outcome. After three years of hard work, millions of pounds of investment, utilising dozens of technical and scientific experts, we submitted a substantive technical document that makes the case that it is safe to dispose of low level waste (LLW) at the site.

“We submitted this case to the Environment Agency, and they did the same thing. They spent an additional three years reviewing it in detail. Every calculation, every model, every assumption was re-reviewed by the EA and their experts and they concluded that the case is made. It is safe to dispose of LLW at the LLWR both now and centuries into the future.”

Planning permission also allows the construction of a final cap over existing and new vaults and seven clay-lined trenches, where waste was disposed of prior to the opening of the site’s first vault in 1988.

Dr Richard Cummings, Head of Science and Engineering at LLWR, said: “We have no greater priority than the safety of people and the environment, which is why such a huge amount of work went in over three years to produce our Environmental Safety Case (ESC), on which our planning application was based.

“We had 80 technical experts working on it and considered environmental safety now and up to thousands of years into the future. The ESC comprised 17 reports and a non-technical summary, plus a further 100 underpinning reports. When complete, it was subject to independent review by the Environment Agency, who concluded we had met their very stringent safety requirements and it was safe to continue to dispose of low level waste at the Repository.”

Work is expected to start in 2017 and construction phase impacts will be carefully managed and monitored to ensure minimum disruption to local residents.