Beckermet with Thornhill Parish Council, Cumbria.Beckermet with Thornhill Parish Council, Cumbria.

MRWS - Managing Radioactive Waste Safely is now referred to as GDF, Geological Disposal Facility.

This concerns the consultation regarding the construction of an underground repository for the long term - 10,000 years+ - storage of radioactive waste.

May 2018

The Managing Radioactive Waste Safely initiative was a consultation organised by Government to find out what people thought of previous attempts to get consent to bury nuclear waste. In particular, how future attempts could be improved. The results of that consultation were reviewed, and a new initiative was launched in early 2018.

This involved two consultations, running in parallel. One discussed how the organisation charged with delivering a Geological Disposal Facility could ensure communities were willing to discuss the possibility of hosting a site; indeed, what is a "community"? The second involved the technical aspects of any facility.

The Parish Council responded to both consultations, and also input to the considerations of the West Cumbria Site Stakeholders Group.

We felt that what had been written was generally correct, but that its tone was too optimistic. It seemed to neglect a number of difficulties, and how they might be addressed. In particular:

  • How the safety aspects could be genuinely considered by a community that is unlikely to have the technical skills. The necessary expertise is in short supply, and most would already be "spoken for" by being involved in producing the original applications and/or in the reviews by the regulatory bodies. Such expertise (and similar needs) would then need to be funded.
  • International experience has shown that such sites could attract a lot of attention, with attendant disruption, damage, etc. How would this be responded to?
  • People living in the area would find that it was very difficult to sell property and relocate, thus becoming trapped. There was no reference to this issue.

March 2013

Like many Parish Councils, Beckermet with Thornhill said that it did not wish to proceed to stage 4 of the MRWS investigation; based on the information presented at the time. Our detailed submission discussed a number of areas where we felt that more information could have been presented before a decision was demanded.

In view of the subsequent decision by Cumbria County Council to say "no", the process has been stopped. Government (Department of Energy and Climate Change) has stated that it wishes to continue with the same arrangements for finding somewhere to dispose of the waste; but in other locations. In the meantime, most of it continues to be stored at Sellafield.

July 2012

We have received the following email regarding the MRWS consultation. The parish council's response can be found by following the second link.

West Cumbria MRWS Partnership consultation

We are writing to thank you for taking the time to respond to the West Cumbria MRWS Partnership’s consultation regarding the geological disposal of radioactive waste in West Cumbria, and to give you an update on what has happened as a result of the consultation responses that we received.

We have now published our report of the formal consultation and the opinion survey that was carried out by Ipsos MORI.  This report comprises the following:

  • A summary of the responses received in the consultation, categorised by question.
  • The Partnership’s responses to the issues raised.
  • An overview of the findings of the opinion survey carried out by Ipsos MORI in West Cumbria and the rest of the county.
  • Next stages in the process.

The report is published as Document 288 (PSE3 Report) in the Documents section of the Partnership’s website and is available at

All of the consultation submissions that were received have also been published on the Partnership’s website and can be viewed at

We are in the process of finalising our Final Report to Allerdale Borough Council, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council, and are due to sign this off at our next meeting on Thursday 19th July.  This meeting is planned as the last meeting of the Partnership before we hand over our report to the three Councils.  Members of the public are welcome to attend to observe proceedings and there will also be a brief opportunity to ask questions.  Further information, including a more detailed agenda, is available in the  Meetings section of the website.   Please do email us if you would like to attend so that we can make sure enough seating is made available.

If you would like to request a paper copy of the PSE3 Report please do contact us.

With best regards

The West Cumbria MRWS Partnership