A recently uncovered report indicates that the UK government has been investigating a number of sites in Northern Ireland to store quantities of radioactive waste.
The report, which was published by the UK's Radioactive Waste Management division in November 2018 and brought to light by the “Love Your Lough” Facebook page earlier this month, identifies “granites and similar strong rocks around Newry” which “may be able to site a GDF (Geological Disposal Facility)” deep underground.
Some of the locations mentioned include the Mourne Mountains and Slieve Gullion in County Down, reports the Dundalk Democrat.
The news has been met with strong opposition from both northern and southern communities.
An online petition demanding no radioactive waste be stored in the Newry area has been signed by over 10,000 people and will be sent to the Northern Ireland Executive.
However, a spokesperson for the Radioactive Waste Management division has said that they “would need to do more work” in order to “find out whether these rocks have suitable properties and thicknesses in the depth range of interest for a GDF.”
A statement on GOV.uk accompanying the report states: "There are no plans to site a GDF in Northern Ireland. This screening report is purely a technical exercise.
“Any future policy decision on geological disposal in Northern Ireland would be a matter for the Executive, and would be subject to community agreement and planning and environmental consents."
Green Party election candidate for Dundalk and Carlingford, Eoin Daly branded the proposal as “outrageous,” but admits it is unlikely to ever happen.
Nuclear waste “needs to be managed in perpetuity at the Sellafield site where the bulk of it already is, not shifted to a place with no nuclear industry or expertise," he said.
The Sellafield nuclear site is located in Cumbria, north-west England and holds 80% of the UK's nuclear waste.
What do think about the UK government exploring these sites to store nuclear waste? Let us know in the comments below.