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Regulating a Geological Disposal Facility

January 1, 2024

Article originally published 21 September 2023

A GDF will have to meet strict environmental protection and safety and security standards which will be regulated by the Environment Agency (EA) and Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) respectively.

The independent regulators will work together to regulate a GDF, scrutinising all aspects of the project, including design, construction, operation and closure.

The UK Government has accepted the recommendation of the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management that geological disposal is the best approach for higher activity radioactive waste – and that this should be delivered in practice with community involvement and support.

An environmental permit and a site licence for a GDF will be granted only if proposals meet the high standards of the regulators.

The ONR and EA are both committed to making their work around GDF open and transparent.

Dr Peter Howden, ONR Principal Inspector, said:

“We do not have a role in the site selection process for a GDF or a decision-making role in the process for identifying and selecting sites for investigation.

“However, during the site selection process, we will offer our support to local working groups and Community Partnerships and will talk to communities, local authorities and others to explain more about our regulatory role.”

For more information