Tag Archives | Radioactive Waste Management

The Saga of UK Radioactive Waste Disposal

The Western Regional Group is pleased to welcome Dr. Ian Crossland nuclear specialist with more than 50 years’ experience of the nuclear industry. For the past thirty years he has specialised in radioactive waste management with a particular interest in disposal. He has first-hand experience of the roller-coaster ride produced by the many swings of UK policy in this area.

The UK has a small mountain of radioactive waste that is stored at many locations around the country. This is the legacy of almost 100 years’ exploitation of nuclear technology in research, medicine, weapons and electricity production. Some of this waste will remain dangerous for millennia. Even if we were to stop
producing it, the legacy of past years would still need to be safely managed to prevent its being a danger to the public. But what to do? Do we continue to store it and, by so doing, pass on the burden of care to future generations? Or do we seek a permanent solution and thereby honour both intergenerational equity and the
“polluter pays” maxim?

The talk outlines the fundamental science that underpins geological disposal, the development, over the past half-century, of UK radioactive waste management policy, the several failed attempts to implement geological disposal and the current campaign to find and implement a permanent solution.


This talk will be given via Zoom, hosted by The Geological Society, Western Regional Group.

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RWM Research Support Office launch

Join the launch of the Radioactive Waste Management Research Support Office (RWM RSO) in September. The RWM RSO is a newly formed body that brings together UK university capabilities in geological disposal science and technology.

The RWM RSO will:

  • Deliver world-leading research from the UK’s academic research community that will underpin the safety case for a geological disposal facility;
  • Support UK universities to access geodisposal research funding that will underpin our geological disposal programme;
  • Develop the next generation of geodisposal research expertise to support the national programme.


The 3-day programme includes:

  • Introduction to the RWM geodisposal research strategy and RSO activities
  • Introduction to the RSO funding portfolio and calls starting October 2020
  • Announcement of 2021 PhD project funding call
  • Case study presentations of RWM funded research
  • Plenary talk from Dr Allan Hedin, Manager of Safety Assessments at SKB, Sweden
  • Research proposal development workshop: Gas Generation, Migration and Reactivity in radioactive waste disposal

The research development workshop will be a sandpit event for researchers to help develop the funding call for this topic area.

The full programme is available here: https://www.research-support-office-gdf.ac.uk/connect/events/


The registration deadline is Friday 11th September. Tickets are free and available on Eventbrite.

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Geological disposal – the solution for the UK’s radioactive waste

You are invited to join the Institute of Physics Nuclear Industry Group and Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) at the stunning Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

The evening will start at 5:30pm with a talk by Andrew Parkes, geologist and Head of Site Characterisation at RWM, with opportunities for questions. This talk will discuss how the UK plans to manage and dispose its higher activity radioactive waste covering everything from the challenge of the waste itself, through to the scientific basis for geological disposal and how RWM will work in partnership with interested communities to find a suitable site. The talk will delve into how geophysical techniques will help us understand the geology of potential sites for the facility and also the role that ancient artefacts have in building our confidence in the geological disposal approach.

The presentation will be followed by a drinks and a buffet supper at 7pm-8pm, served in the Ashmolean Main Atrium – a fitting backdrop of archaeological evidence for the longevity of materials and messages. You will also have the opportunity to explore other galleries within the museum which will remain open to us for a private viewing until 8:30pm.


Please register for this event via the Eventbrite page:

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Searching for a UK Geological Disposal Facility

Radioactive Waste Management - Professor Cherry Tweed


Credit: NDA

Early in 2019, Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) embarked on a search to find a site for a geological disposal facility (GDF) for the UK’s higher-activity radioactive waste.  This waste has been generated from more than 60 years of the use of nuclear technologies in the UK, for power generation, industry, research, defence and medicine and is currently stored safely in surface facilities around the UK.

A Geological Disposal Facility (GDF), made up of deep underground vaults and tunnels, is internationally recognised as the best option for the long-term management of our higher activity radioactive waste. Geological disposal involves:

  • isolating the radioactive waste in sealed vaults and tunnels deep underground, between 200 metres and 1000 metres below the surface
  • containing the radioactivity while it decays naturally over time

thus preventing radioactivity from ever reaching the surface in levels that could cause harm.

A GDF will provide significant economic benefits to a host community over its 100+ year operating lifetime.

Credit: NDA

The process to find a site for a GDF is a consent-based process with communities at its heart. Our aim is to find a suitable site and a willing community who will decide for themselves if they are willing to host a GDF.

This talk will provide an overview of the technology behind geological disposal, describe the journey with communities to find a site and highlight some of the experience we can learn from other countries involved in similar projects.


The event starts at 5.30pm for refreshments with the talk beginning at 6pm.

Register for free via Eventbrite


Professor Cherry Tweed is the Chief Scientific Advisor to Radioactive Waste Management and an Honorary Professor at the University of Birmingham.

She has an MA in Natural Sciences and a PhD in Materials Science from Cambridge University and over 25 years’ experience in geological disposal.

Radioactive Waste Management Ltd. aims to deliver a geological disposal facility and provide radioactive waste management solutions.

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Guest Lecture: Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste

Guest Lecture: Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste


Speakers: Professor Cherry Tweed, Chief Scientific Adviser and Dr Liam Payne, Research Manager from Radioactive Waste Management

Tuesday 13th February, 16:00-18:00

Venue: 3.21 Berry Lecture Theatre, Physics

In this talk, Liam Payne will give an overview of geological disposal of radioactive waste including what it is and why do we need it, what’s the science and engineering behind it and how university research fits into the evidence base.

This will be followed by Cherry Tweed discussing the history of geological disposal in the UK, including the previous siting campaigns.

Afterwards there will be a discussion on the current policy for siting, including an update on the recently launched consultation on working with communities. Finally, Cherry will give an overview of international geological disposal programmes.


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