Over a period of 66 days from September 1995 and February 1996
there was a public inquiry at Cleator Moor, Cumbria into an appeal
by United Kingdom Nirex Limited, Britains nuclear waste disposal
body, against the refusal of Cumbria County Council to grant
planning permission for a 'Rock Characterisation Facility' on land
at Longlands Farm, Gosforth, Cumbria.
The RCF was intended to demonstrate the practicability of a deep
underground radioactive waste repository, which UK Nirex hoped could
eventually be located alongside. The site is close to the Atomic
Energy Authority's Sellafield works and just outside the Lake
District National Park boundary.
The scheme would have involved sinking two 5m diameter shafts to
depths of up to 1020m and opening out galleries in the Borrowdale
Volcanic Group of rocks from and in which extensive scientific and
engineering investigations and experiments would be conducted.
I was appointed Assessor to advise the Inspector, in particular on
matters of geology and hydrogeology. The inquiry heard detailed
evidence from Nirex, and from many objectors including Friends of
the Earth, Greenpeace and the Irish government.
Early in 1997 John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment,
formally rejected the Appeal. More than 10 years of work and several
hundred million pounds of research, investigations and planning by
Nirex were frustrated and the future of nuclear waste disposal in
the UK thrown into confusion. A copy of my report can be
downloaded by clicking on the link below.
Colin Knipe's Technical Assessor's
Report pdf format
Chapter A - Basic Criteria for
Repository - Geological & Radiological
Chapter B - Site Selection Criteria
Chapter C - Science & Technical
Chapter D - Model Development
Chapter E - Radiological Protection &
Chapter F - Further Work Programme &
Role of the RCF
Chapter G - Promise of the PRZ
The Inspector's report can be found here: http://www.westcumbriamrws.org.uk/all_documents.asp
or here: http://www.nuclearwasteadvisory.co.uk/docs/scientific-docs/nirex-inquiry-inspectors-report/