Catalogued by UK's Tory regime; source of concern now
yielding to pressure from the media and activists, who claimed their right to information under the country's Freedom to Information Act, uk's Tony Blair government has revealed a list of 12 secret radioactive waste disposal sites. The list was drawn up in the late 1980s and the then Tory regime was actively considering the use of these sites. But the plan was abandoned when the John Major government lost power in 1997. The next Labour Party regime refused to reveal the list on grounds of official secrecy. Now, the list has finally been published after a long struggle.
The list includes two tiny, uninhabited Scottish islands, military land, areas held by nuclear power stations and even sites under the sea. Five of the sites on the list are in Scotland. The uk may be one of the first countries in the world to use nuclear fission technology for bombs and power production, but it is way behind in formulating plans to safely dispose of radioactive waste. While the us has one waste isolation pilot plant and is building its second, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium and France are actively investigating stable geological formations for stacking radioactive waste, especially plutonium.
According to a Febraury 2005 report from the uk Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, Britain's plutonium stockpile from civilian operations alone is over 70 tonnes, and is expected to grow to 100 tonnes in the next 10 years. This is a very large amount, considering that the plutonium bomb that created havoc in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945 had just over 6 kilogrammes of plutonium.
At present, an independent Committee on Radioactive Waste is considering the disposal of long-standing radioactive waste in the uk. It is expected come out with a strategy by November 2006. But activists fear the locations on the 'secret list' might once again be considered as nuclear dumps.
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