73 councils in Wales have now officially stated that they will not host an underground nuclear waste dump.
The Welsh consultation on a ‘geological disposal facility’ closed in April 2018. In their submission, CND Cymru argued that the Welsh government should follow the Scottish government and adopt an ‘on site, near ground level’ storage policy for nuclear waste.
The group cited the large number of councils which have rejected underground storage as indicative of the opposition to such a policy.
CND Cymru noted that: ‘Welsh people have rejected nuclear waste dumps before, in the late 1970s, in the 1990s, and now again in 2019’.
The nuclear situation in Wales is complicated by split responsibilities for nuclear waste and nuclear power. While nuclear waste is a devolved matter for the Welsh assembly to deal with, nuclear power generation remains in the hands of the Westminster parliament.
A move to ban dumping of radioactively-contaminated sediment from the Hinkley Point A and B nuclear power stations in the sea off Cardiff Bay was narrowly defeated in the Welsh assembly in October last year.
EDF, building Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, plans to resume dumping in 2020, while Magnox UK has announced plans for the Hinkley Point A site to become a low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste store.
Last year saw the collapse of the international consortium behind the proposed Wylfa B nuclear power station on Anglesey, while there are talks about installing one or more small modular reactors (SMRs) at the closed nuclear power facility in Trawsfynydd, Mid Wales.
Funding is, however, unclear and would likely involve substantial government (taxpayer) input. The nuclear power issue in Wales remains complicated.