Nuclear waste plan for Rye’s doorstep

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PLANS are being considered to create a nuclear waste dump under the fields around Rye.

Shepway Council is examining the possibility of a nuclear disposal facility which would see nuclear waste, from all over the UK, being buried under Romney Marsh.

They say the £12 billion facility could create jobs in the Rye area when the Dungeness A and B power stations are phased out.

But opponents of the plan say it could have a disastrous impact on the environmental ecology.

Rye MP Amber Rudd said: “I oppose any suggestion to have a nuclear dump in the Romney Marsh area. There is no way this is going to happen.

“I have met with local MPs and we have made our views crystal clear to Shepway Council. We are united in our opposition. I am pleased that both county councils oppose it.”

Local farmer and Rother Environmental Group spokesman Christopher Strangeways branded the plan as “ridiculous” and said: “It is widely claimed that the current design for the waste containers will start to leak after 500 years and it will be a target for terrorists from day one.

“Turning the Marsh into a nuclear zone is clearly not going to help an area largely dependent on tourism.”

According to Shepway Council, the area will lose 1,000 jobs and an estimated £46 million a year from the local economy when the power stations are fully de- ommissioned in 2018 or 2023.

Cllr David Godfrey, who is leading the project for the council, said the authority did not have a formal view about the facility and would consult with residents before submitting an expression of interest to the Government.

It also plans to hold a series of public exhibitions in the coming weeks.

Cllr Godfrey said: “Our only view is that local people should be allowed to decide for themselves.”

But it is uncertain as to whether people in the Rye area will have a voice as Rye does not come under Shepway Council, despite the fact that the waste dump would be far closer to Rye than Shepway’s Folkestone base.

The plans are already being strongly opposed by Kent County Council, whose leader Paul Carter said: “I have no doubt other people will share my horror.

“We will do everything possible to oppose this unviable proposal and use every tool in the box to bring an end to this scheme.”

The facility, if built, would be between 656 and 3,280ft below ground. Waste would be stored in secure containers buried within the rock. Once full the facility would be permanently sealed.

Supporters claim geological disposal, such as this, keeps the waste secure from terrorists.

There has been no discussion yet as to how the waste would be transported to the Rye area although it is believed the main journey would be by rail.

At ground level there would be buildings for research, office space and transport.

The area would cover about a square kilometre, 22 times the size of Wembley Stadium and may include a visitor centre.

It has been said that earth moved to create the storage facility would be on a par with that removed to create the Channel Tunnel.

The centre would take waste from other nuclear plants such as spent fuel and high and intermediate level waste.

The cost is estimated at 12 billion.

Lydd Mayor Graham Snell said: “I am against it and I am very worried about it. We don’t want nuclear waste in Romney Marsh. There are safety concerns plus the effects from the rail and road movement that would result.

“It would blight the Marsh and bring down house prices. I don’t think it would create enough jobs to justify it.