Deep Geological Disposal of Nuclear Wastes in the UK and The Coal Mine

Dear Friends,

Thank you to everyone who is donating and sharing this CrowdJustice campaign to Help stop the Cumbrian Coal Mine.

(All monies go direct to Leigh Day who are helping us to look at how we can challenge the plan on nuclear impacts)

On 15th March, The Science Discovery Group will be hosting a talk :

Development of a Deep Geological Disposal Facility for Nuclear Waste in the UK

Mark Kirkbride, Member on the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM)

What On Earth has that got to do with the Cumbria Coal Mine I hear you ask!

Well, just days after Cumbria County Council gave (provisional) planning permission to West Cumbria Mining in October 2019, the Chief Executive Officer of WCM was appointed to the UK Government body pushing the plan for the Geological Disposal of Nuclear Wastes in the UK.  The public body is called the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management.  They advise Radioactive Waste Management who had already appointed the Head of Operations at West Cumbria Mining to the job of Site Selection Manager for the Geological Disposal Facility (heat generating nuclear dump)  plan.  Both public bodies report to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who have voiced support for the coal mine plan and actively supported the plan from the outset (more on that in another post).

The area under consideration for a GDF is the Irish Sea area adjacent to the coal mine.  The coal mine itself would be directly under decades of Sellafield’s radioactive discharges .  CoRWM have somewhat disingenuously told us they have “no interest” in either the coal mine development by one of their (twelve) members or in the fact that the coal mine would be directly under the decades of ‘low level’ waste (including plutonium) already discharged from Sellafield and sitting in the (soon to be disturbed by mining subsidence) silts on the Irish Sea bed.   

We assume that CoRWM would also reply that they have no interest at all in the geological stresses that Mark Kirkbride’s  coal mine development would induce on the surrounding area of the Irish Sea which includes the area under consideration for a Geological Disposal Facility (subsea nuclear dump for heat generating nuclear wastes) for which Mark Kirkbride is giving a promotional talk on March 15th.

You see the corruption?  CoRWM say they see no conflict of interest in the appointment of West Cumbria Mining’s CEO.  Mark Kirkbride has also been elevated to Chair of a Sub Group within the CoRWM Committee which provides:

Scrutiny of and advice to BEIS and RWM on technical site evaluation criteria and plans for site investigation and characterisation.


  • scrutinise the application of the Site Evaluation and how appropriate it is for specific communities
  • examine RWM’s long-term planning and programme management initiatives. Provide feedback and informal advice by means of a written report”

So Mark Kirkbride is giving advice to former colleague at West Cumbria Mining Steve Reece who is now Site Selection Manager for Radioactive Waste Management.  The site in the frame is the Irish Sea area adjacent to the coal mine.  You get the drift ? (pun intended)

This information has been sent over and again in much detail to the national press and NGOs.   

It has been widely ignored.  

Is there some kind of ‘D’ notice on this shocking information?  

Just imagine if, a couple of years ago at the height of the campaign against Fracking, if a Developer had been appointed to a Government body?  The press would be all over it.  

As it is we are being treated to a Punch and Judy show on climate impacts of the mine – important – but this  diverts attention away from the corruption of governance that is going on in relation to this coal mine.   

I suspect the Government are only too happy to have pronuclear scientists lining up to denounce the climate impacts of this mine while totally ignoring the fact that the CEO of the coal mine has been appointed to high office in the governmental plan to push along a deep nuclear dump in the UK for heat generating nuclear wastes.

Here is a little competition.  The first reporter who manages to get the fact that the CEO of the coal mine has been appointed to CoRWM in the press will receive this original cartoon.  If anyone sees anything in the press which mentions Mark Kirkbride’s elevation to CoRWM please do contact me here.  

I expect to keep the cartoon for a long while …..

Please UK press and mainstream NGOs  – surprise me!

In the meantime it is my opinion that we may  have more chance of Cumbria County Council changing their minds over the coal mine than government who have appointed one former and one existing coal mine executive to their diabolic deep nuclear dump plans  and have supported the coal mine from the beginning.  

Please do keep writing to Cumbria County Council and asking them not to issue a final Decision Notice for the coal mine.   You can contact the Development Control Committee here.   Please do Thank the Chair of Committee who voted against the plan and ask that other members follow his example and do not issue a final Decision Notice for this coal mine whose impacts would be intergenerational.  

Best wishes


Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign) 

2 thoughts on “Deep Geological Disposal of Nuclear Wastes in the UK and The Coal Mine

  1. A key point is that the potentially very corrupting conflict of interest you point out here is unlikely to be usable as a legal weapon against the coal mine whereas the climate issue is.


    1. Our concerns are far wider than the coal mine and exposing this corruption may just give the council (whose right of veto on a Geological Disposal Facility has bee scrapped), pause to reflect.


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