NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP

Louth senator assured that UK Government has no plans for nuclear dump in Mournes

Government officials aware of UK interest in Mourne Mountains site since last November

Donard McCabe

Reporter:

Donard McCabe

Louth senator assured that UK Government has no plans for nuclear dump in Mournes

Louth Senator receives assurances that UK Government has no plans for nuclear dump in Mournes

Louth senator Ged Nash has said he is reassured by comments from Energy Minister Richard Bruton that there are “no plans or policy” from the UK government to site a nuclear waste facility in Northern Ireland.

The Louth Labour Senator said;

“I am pleased that the Minister has confirmed this position in a reply to a parliamentary question.

“I raised this matter in the Seanad last week, having been contacted by concerned citizens along the border area.

“It appears from the Minister’s reply that government officials were first made aware of investigations by a UK agency into the possibility of locating a ‘geological disposal facility’ in the Mournes last November.

“The Irish government must remain vigilant on this very concerning issue and send a very clear message to the British government that Ireland - north and south - that we will resist with every means at our disposal any attempt to site a nuclear waste facility of any kind in the island of Ireland at any point in the future.”

Senator Nash's question and the minister's response are below:

Question:
"To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to proposals to consider the establishment of a geological disposal facility and-or nuclear waste disposal facility in the Newry, Mourne and Down area; if he has been notified and consulted by the UK authorities on this matter of concern to Border communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter."


Minister Bruton's response:
"Senior officials in my Department and the Environmental Protection Agency meet twice a year to discuss matters of mutual interest with United Kingdom (UK) colleagues through the UK-Ireland Contact Group on Radiological Matters.

"Officials from the Northern Ireland administration are also invited to attend. The matter of radioactive waste, and in particular the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) project, is a standing item on the agenda for the Group.

"Ireland engages on this matter through this Group, and will continue to monitor developments in relation to UK plans for geological disposal of radioactive waste.

"This issue was discussed at the Group in November 2018 and officials from the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed that following a recent public consultation on engagement with potential host communities for a Geological Disposal Facility in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the working policy on potential sites will relate to England only. There are no plans or policy to site a Geological Disposal Facility in Northern Ireland.

"A decision regarding locating a Geological Disposal Facility in Northern Ireland would have to be taken by the Northern Ireland Executive.

"My officials will continue to engage with their UK counterparts at national and regional levels to ensure that our concerns in this matter continue to be represented."