As one of the pioneers of nuclear technology, the UK has accumulated a substantial legacy of radioactive material. Some of it has already been processed and placed in safe and secure interim storage on nuclear sites. However, most will only become waste over the next century or so. The UK Government's policy for the long-term management of this higher-activity radioactive waste is geological disposal, which involves isolating radioactive waste in an engineered facility deep inside a suitable rock formation to ensure that no harmful quantities of radioactivity reach the surface.
In 2008, the Government published the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) White Paper, setting out a framework for implementing geological disposal. It was accompanied by a call for communities to express an interest in discussing with the Government the possibility of hosting a geological disposal facility. Three local authorities have formally expressed an interest in the MRWS program. As part of the process to identify and assess potential sites for geological disposal, the UK Government has recently issued a "Call for Evidence", encouraging stakeholders to share their views on the site selection aspects of the on-going MRWS process. The responses to this call for evidence will inform a public consultation that will follow later in the year.