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Officials say they will not stand in the way of a plan to store low-level radioactive waste in Northamptonshire.
The Environment Agency has been studying a proposal by Augean Plc to store waste contaminated by radiation at a specialist facility in the north of the county.
The operators of the East Northants Resource Management Facility (ENRMF) landfill, in Kingscliffe, want to take material from nuclear sites which have been decommissioned
The Agency has now decided, after a six month study, that disposing of this low level radioactive waste would harm neither people nor the environment and is now proposing to authorise Augean to take the waste.
A final decision has yet to be made, and people living and working in the area around the site are being invited to give their views on the proposed decision.
Simon Mitchell, Environment Agency Environment Manager, said: “I know this application has caused concern within the local community. But I want to reassure the public that we would not authorise any disposals of low level radioactive waste to any landfill unless we were satisfied people and the environment were protected, both now and in the future.
“We will not make any final decisions about this application until we have considered the responses to this consultation.”
The landfill currently accepts waste including contaminated soil and fibrous and bonded asbestos. Low level radioactive waste which may be accepted in future includes building rubble and soil from dismantled nuclear sites.
Lightly contaminated equipment from facilities where radioactive material is handled and small volumes of materials from laboratories and hospitals may also be deposited there.
Mr Mitchell said: “The standards we apply comply with legal obligations and satisfy stringent international limits. As a result, we consider that allowing waste with low levels of radioactivity to be disposed of at the ENRMF will pose no threat to either people living and working in the area or the environment."
A document explaining the Environment Agency’s position on the application and the reasons behind its proposal to grant authorisation has been sent to groups including Waste Watchers, a local parish council, Northamptonshire County Council and East Northants District Council.
The Health and Safety Executive and Food Standards Agency are also being consulted before a final decision is made. In addition, the document is available to view on the Environment Agency website.
Augean would also need planning permission from Northamptonshire County Council before it could accept low level radioactive waste.
You have until 12th March to send your comments on the proposed decision, to:
Environment Agency NRG (South)
Red Kite House, Howbery Park