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Holyrood hits out at N-sub Chapelcross storage proposal

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By Rod Edgar
Annan and Eskdale

ACTION is being urged by the Scottish Government to rule out Chapelcross in Annan as a site for storing waste from 27 nuclear submarines.

The demand from Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) comes after a report setting out findings from a consultation process focused on five shortlisted storage sites across the UK.
Speaking out, Mr Lochhead said: “The MoD must listen to and respect the views of the majority of people and organisations in Scotland who responded to the consultation, expressing their strong opposition to the storage of the MOD’s submarine Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPVs) at Chapelcross.”
He added: “Following the publication of this report, the Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead, has written to the UK Government asking that Defence Ministers respect the views expressed by people in Scotland and rule out Chapelcross as the site to store these RPVs, which are categorised as intermediate level radioactive waste.”
Scottish Ministers had previously voiced opposition to the inclusion of Chapelcross on the five-site shortlist.
But a new report published by the MOD last Thursday setting out findings from its consultation process revealed concerns had been voiced during consultations at all five sites, and that Chapelcross would remain a possibility.
The report revealed that 74 people attended an exhibition at Victoria Halls in Annan on November 28 last year, 34 the next day, and 52 on January 16 this year. Six workshops took place across those three days, with 24 people taking part.
Elected representatives, the local authority, the Chapelcross Site Stakeholders Group and about 100 people from the Chapelcross workforce were also briefed.
Feedback included questions about the Scottish Government’s opposition to storage in Scotland might make the selection of Chapelcross problematic.
And others questioned uncertainty about the potential for eventual Scottish independence and the impact on the SDP programme.
However, the report noted, ‘One response made the point that it is ‘the UK’s waste’ and the site selected should be the ‘safest and most economical’ irrespective of geography.
The report noted a ‘high proportion’ of objections to the potential use of Chapelcross, ‘some in rather more direct terms than generally encountered elsewhere’.
But it says one respondent said the site was suitable because of its experience with waste handling and storage and another thought there would be a jobs benefit.
However, there were concerns about contamination of water supplies, environmental impact, health concerns and fairness, in that Chapelcross ‘has already had its fair share’.
The MOD report also acknowledges input from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, and its concerns about environmental issues related to the management of controlled and hazardous waste arising from the Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP).


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