Natural Resources Wales to consult on Anglesey nuclear waste options

The ways in which waste from the £10-billion Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station in Anglesey  will be managed, transferred and disposed of is set to be put to a public consultation.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is set to bring the application for an environmental permit by nuclear power company Horizon, which runs the Anglesey site, before the public, affirming that a permit will only be granted if NRW is satisfied with the proposals.

Natural Resources Wales to consult on Anglesey nuclear waste optionsThe public consultation period will run until 14 January, with three public drop-in sessions to be held in the third week of November in Cemaes (20 November), Bangor (21 November) and Llangefni (22 November).

The application for an environmental permit comes five years after the Wylfa Newydd site, near the town of Cemaes, was purchased. The new site will replace the old power station, which closed after 50 years in 2015, and will produce energy for the next 60 years, powering over five million homes.

The proposed permit will only cover radioactivity and its acceptance will be conditional on Horizon satisfactorily demonstrating how it will minimise waste generated and disposed of.

Horizon has stated that it intends to store all intermediate waste securely on-site for up to 140 years and has also laid out all the handling and monitoring technology and techniques to deal with the radioactive solid, gas and water waste expected to be produced by the two boiling water reactors that will be present on the site. The company has assured that any routine radioactive radiation will be within UK Government limits.

Commenting on the consultation announcement, Tim Jones, NRW Executive Director of Operations in North and Mid Wales, said: "We will carry out a thorough assessment of Horizon's proposals to see if they contain sufficient safeguards to protect people and the environment before deciding whether to issue a permit or refuse the application. We will consider all relevant information raised during the consultation and we would value hearing people's views.

“We only issue a permit if we are wholly satisfied that the company’s plans prove they will operate safely, without harming the environment or local communities.”

Although Horizon’s application for an environmental permit has been put out for public consultation, there is still a long way to go before work on Wylfa Newydd can begin. In addition to issues surrounding planning and cost of the new plant yet to be resolved, there remains opposition to the presence of nuclear power on the island of Anglesey, and it would not be remiss to expect strong representation of this opposition during the consultation period.

Campaigner Robert Idris, of People Against Wylfa-B (Pawb), told the BBC: "They can't predict what's going to happen to this waste no matter how detailed the technical documents are. How therefore can they consider leaving the people of Anglesey with a whole load of the most dangerous waste in the world?"

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