The West Cumbrian Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Partnership has organised a geology seminar to take place in Whitehaven on June 20 concerning proposals to dispose of higher activity radioactive wastes in West Cumbria. The announcement states that I declined an invitation to take part. This is misleading. In fact it was I who proposed to the MRWS over two months ago that I give a public talk about my findings on the unsuitability of Cumbria for hosting a nuclear waste dump. The MRWS responded by offering me a 15-minute slot within a larger “seminar” of two hours duration. Since the complexities of the geology, district by district, cannot possibly be covered in a quarter of an hour, I then withdrew my offer. It is clear to me that the Partnership does not wish a genuine debate; the forthcoming seminar is merely a PR exercise. Two months ago I published a detailed technical article, running to 35 pages, to back up my earlier general statement, based on the complexity of the geology and proximity of the mountains, that nowhere in West Cumbria is suitable for high or intermediate level radioactive waste disposal (see www.davidsmythe.org). No official government body has responded in any substance to my geological criticisms. It is evident that they cannot, and that my conclusion stands. The lessons of the Nirex Inquiry of 1995-96, in which I was heavily involved, must not be forgotten. I am more than happy to debate in proper scientific detail my professional knowledge of West Cumbria, in a serious manner – say 45 minutes each, with one speaker each for and against an appropriate motion, followed by debate and questions from the floor. The venue should preferably be in West Cumbria, but I am prepared to appear anywhere in the UK. The debate should be video-recorded and then put on the public MRWS website, together with full transcripts of the presentations.
I await the challenge with eagerness.
(Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow)
Ventenac en Minervois, France
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