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Film Talks: Exploring GDF: Millom 

We learned more at the above event in Millom on 24th November 2023. See front page, No. 64, for feedback. Quite a lot of contradictions! Main points: results of seismic survey now pushed back to end January. The area chosen will be a construction site for about 150 years! Transference of waste on site (by either rail or road) into dump would take place daily. Spoil material (from digging tunnels) will not be used as backfill but bentonite (type of absorbent clay) will be used raising issues of how will bentonite be brought to site and where will waste go? Number of jobs created: it seems the developer told Cumbria Council there would be 800 new jobs to begin with, reducing to 600 then 200 then 0 – the developer was unable to confirm or deny this. Borehole testing will not take place until 2029/2030. Site will be larger than 1 square kilometer during first 20 years of construction. People are still spreading the lie that we, the community, can pull out at any time.

Community Impacts Report

The South Copeland GDF Community Partnership was set up (December 2021). In their own words, this is a partnership whose main purpose is to help local people “understand more about the Community Partnership and Geological Disposal, including what a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) is, why it is required, and what it means for our community.”

Since December 2021 many of us have been asking the Community Partnership what the potential negative impacts of siting the GDF (nuclear dump) are likely to be here in Haverigg and Kirksanton. 

During this period all the Community Partnership (aka Nuclear Waste Services) have done is promote the so-called ‘positive’ effects and manipulate local people to believe the GDF would be good for our area through the provision of biased information and grants to voluntary organisations (and if you dare to oppose the GDF you are told you are stopping local organisations receiving much needed funding). They have repeatedly ignored our requests for more impartial information which gives both positive and negative effects.

It was agreed at a meeting of the Community Partnership a few months ago that they would commission a report to look at the potential impact, this, they are calling, the ‘Community Impacts Report.’

In response to a request for information about the report, here is the response of the Community Partnership:

“The Community Partnership is in the process of drafting the scope of the Community Impacts Report. They are then hoping to commission it as a piece of academic research and hope to publish the report by the end of March 2024.”

A fellow activist who strongly opposes the siting of the GDF here has come up with the following list of potential impacts:

Largest UK engineering project equivalent to 6 channel tunnels 10-15 years, 24 hour construction site then a site handling the transference of Highly radioactive containers mainly from Sellafield but from around the country by rail and road. The need to mitigate for blasting, dust, light, noise, environmental impact etc.

Destruction of environment both onshore dunescape and landscape and undersea with borehole testing taking place before public opinion is tested.

Prison closure and loss of associated employment streams.

Tourism and tourism potential loss.

Agricultural loss.

Compulsory purchase land and property Haverigg / Kirksanton similar to HS2.

Offsite car park and bussing in of personnel.

Need to accommodate construction personnel.

Need for railway sidings and on site station to deliver personnel and waste.

Transport of 150,000 containers of Highly Radioactive Nuclear Waste from mainly Sellafield but also around the country.

Transport of heavy machinery, generators, cranes etc.

Estimated 500,000 wagon loads of tunnelling spoil dumped at Haverigg / Kirksanton to be used at a later date to back fill the dump and or moved by road and rail.

Twice daily movement of personnel on a 24 hour site.

Fenced highly secure 24 hour armed guard presence.

Terrorism threat increasing area surveillance cctv etc.

Permanent protest camps around the area and clash potential.

Activist disruption.

Impact on World Heritage Status of the Lake District National Park.

No ability to use technological advances in the future to more safely manage the waste or repurpose it.

The need to trust scientists geologists etc who have been badly wrong in the past and are making a decision for future generations on a project with a massive time scale of 100,000 years until the highly radioactive waste is deemed safe.

Loss of public services due to difficulty of attracting professionals to an area associated with a dump.

Association of this beautiful area with label of “toxic coast” as the nuclear coast of the Lake District National Park is extended.

Loss of funding streams which can’t coexist with a dump e.g. agriculture, tourism.

The admittance of the need for service provision from the developer for damage to mental health and wellbeing.

The admittance of the need for compensation packages for the affects to business land and property values.

Only 3 councils from over 300 in the Country have chosen to participate in the process.

Cumbria County Council would not take part due to Sellafield long term job losses and the huge loss of income to the County in business rates but the new Cumberland Council support the process without knowing the will of our community.

Split site with logistical jobs retained by the developer away from the area. Similar to Sellafield operations.

The need to state the dump in searches if selling property or land.

New infrastructure bypassing the area akin to Egremont.

Members of the Community Partnership and local councils need to ask themselves:

Is it really worth the short-sighted gain of funding being made available for local voluntary organisations when, in the long term, there will no longer be a Haverigg or Kirksanton left for our children or grand-children or great grand-children, to enjoy this beautiful part of the country in the same way that current and previous generations have enjoyed?

Here is what someone who loves coming to this part of the world has to say about the proposal:

We have had a caravan on Butterflowers and previously Harbour Lights when it was just getting on its feet. We feel our time up here is a little bit of heaven and everyone we meet are so friendly.

We would be so upset to see it go the same way as our childhood holiday home at Drigg. Here the storage area was right next to holiday and permanent homes, these now lie dormant and a very close community of people moved on in the way of progress!!

CP Response

Here is their response to my questions posed on 21 April 2023 (see previous post):

1. What is the Community Impacts Report?

In response to questions from the community on what the negative impacts of a GDF in South Copeland are, the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership would like to commission a Community Impacts report. The scope of the report is yet to be defined but it would focus on trying to understand what the potential impacts (both positive and negative) are of a GDF in South Copeland. The report would look at the impacts that other major infrastructure projects in the UK had on their local communities.

2. What does the following mean: Assure the community that key concerns are fully integrated into the developing process for potential Community Withdrawal?

The South Copeland GDF Community Partnership needs to be thinking about both the short- and long-term issues regarding the siting of a GDF within our communities. We are acutely aware that the future remains uncertain, and we are also working with the Developers timetable regarding the key considerations in building a GDF. Decisions can change over time. This may be impacted by the Technical and/or Geological considerations or the Community does not support the hosting of a GDF.

At this point in time, the position is not clear as to how this may evolve but it is sensible that the Partnership starts to work with the Developer to ensure an exit process is in place and community concerns as to how this is done is openly discussed with the Nuclear Waste Services.

3. What does this mean: Development Consent Order?

A Development Consent Order is the planning process that developments class as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), such as the GDF must go through to obtain planning permission. More info on the process can be found here:…

Questions for South Copeland GDF Community Partnership

The following letter, by Jan Bridget, has just been sent to the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership admin with a request to forward it to members of the Community Partnership:

I am writing to strongly complain about how members of the public (the community) are kept informed about what the Community Partnership are doing (in our name?) and how the meetings are being run.

Whilst members of the public can attend the meetings and are allocated 15 minutes for questions we can only see the previous (draft) minutes at the actual meeting which does not give us time to read, digest and disseminate the information in order to form any questions we may want to ask during the allotted 15 minutes in response.

Similarly, as I mentioned at last night’s meeting, we do not get sight of any reports or feedback being discussed during the meeting and have to try and understand what is happening from what is being said at the meeting. Again, this makes it extremely difficult for us to follow what is happening. I sought clarification as to what the procedures are at local council meetings and Councillor Moore confirmed that documents are made available to the public before meetings (I think this is what he said).

This whole process makes it difficult for members of the public to keep up-to-date with what the Community Partnership are doing and gives the impression that you are purposefully trying to keep us in the dark.

Having now had time to read the minutes of the last meeting I have several queries for the Community Partnership (NOT NWS):

1. Can I have some clarification please about what is going to happen about the independent report on the potential negative effects on our area should a GDF be sited here? And will there be an opportunity for the public to feed in questions we wish to raise (and have raised numerous times)?

2. What is happening about a public meeting? Why can the Community Partnership – who are meant to represent the community and whose chief role is communication with the community (at least that is my understanding) – not organise a public meeting?

3. Why is the GDF search area not coming up in house searches? Surely Copeland/Cumberland Council have a legal duty to include this when searches are conducted? Can the Community Partnership follow this up please? (Had I known the area was going to be considered for the GDF there is no way I would have moved here).

4. How are the Community Partnership going to represent opposing views?

5. It is pretty obvious that the only possible site in our area (apart from Drigg which has just been added to our area) is at the old RAF airfield in Haverigg but that land from Kirksanton would also be necessary. Indeed, it was this area that was identified initially according to…/Sou… Can we have an acknowledgement of this, please?

I would like to reiterate, I am asking the Community Partnership, not Nuclear Waste Services, to respond to these questions.

Thank you.

Jan Bridget

UK Anti Nuclear Dump Groups support Australian Group

Joint Media Release –                                                                               4 April 2023

‘Total admiration and support’: UK campaigners express solidarity with Indigenous Australian group opposing Kimba nuclear waste dump

Four British anti-nuclear groups have written to an Aboriginal campaign group to express their ‘total admiration and support’ in solidarity with their struggle against a Federal Government plan to dump nuclear waste on their Traditional Land in South Australia. They have also strongly objected to the plan in a joint response to a government consultation.

The UK/Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), Radiation Free Lakeland, Millom against the Nuclear Dump, and Guardians of the East Coast are all engaged in campaigns to oppose similar nuclear waste dumps in England. The NFLA comprises affiliated local authorities across the UK and Republic of Ireland who are opposed to nuclear power, whilst the members of Radiation Free Lakeland, Millom against the Nuclear Dump, and Guardians of the East Coast are local people fighting plans to dump Britain’s high-level deadly nuclear waste under the Irish or North Sea from onshore hubs in either Cumbria or Lincolnshire.

All four campaign groups could immediately see the comparisons between the treatment of the Barngarla people in South Australia and the local people they represent. Whether in the UK or Australia, citizens are angry at having their views ignored and marginalised by a powerful political and nuclear industry lobby seeking to impose unwanted deadly waste upon them in their locality, and fearful of the impact on their lives, those of the succeeding generations of their family, their community, and the local economy.

Whether in Cumbria, Lincolnshire or Kimba, local people are saying NO to a nuclear dump!

The British campaigners believe that there is no necessity for nuclear waste to be transported almost 1,000 miles from the Lucas Heights reactor site to Kimba, as the Federal Government’s own regulator, ARPANSA (the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) has deemed the Lucas Heights site to have capacity and be suitable to store the waste for the foreseeable future. The plan also shamefully rides roughshod over the rights of the Indigenous Barngarla People who have acknowledged legal Native Title over these their Traditional Lands.

Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, Chair of the UK/Ireland NFLA, said: “In the past, Indigenous Australians have been the victims of British atomic weapons testing, and they continue to be the victims of uranium mining, carried out by profit-hungry corporations.

“Now again the Federal Government is unnecessarily and unjustifiable trying to impose its nuclear activities upon the Indigenous peoples of Australia. This is yet another example of the abhorrent racist practice called ‘nuclear colonialism’”.

Marianne Birkby, Founder of Radiation Free Lakeland, commented: “Plans for a dangerously polluting Kimba nuclear waste dump resonates very deeply with us here in Cumbria. 

“The nuclear waste industry ‘heartland” on the Lake District Coast began by dispossessing farmers from their beautiful and fertile land. Not only farmland was immediately lost to the sprawling nuclear waste site but also the last stretch of the river Calder.  Once abundant with salmon and freshwater pearl mussels the river was straightened, concreted, and turned into a gutter for contaminated run-off from the site. 

“Nuclear waste continues to arrive every week in Cumbria and the latest plan for a heat generating nuclear waste dump under the Irish Sea is utterly unconscionable – as are the plans in Kimba”.

Jan Bridget, Co-Founder of Millom against the Nuclear Dump, added: “We see at Kimba that the nuclear establishment and politicians are using the same approach worldwide = not listening to local people. Solidarity from Millom against the Nuclear Dump – we wish the Barngarla good luck with their campaign”.

Ken Smith, Chair of Guardians of the East Coast, added: “The only reason governments are imposing these poisonous dumps on their people is to hide the problem they are continuing to create. Geological Disposal is simply sweeping the problem under the carpet”.


For more information, please contact Richard Outram, Secretary, UK/Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities by email, telephone +44 (0) 7583 097793

   UK / Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities

Radiation Free Lakeland, Lakes Against Nuclear Dump Campaign

Millom against the Nuclear Dump / South Copeland against the GDF 

Guardians of the East Coast 


Questions to be answered by desk-based studies which have now begun in South and Mid Copeland (and probably in Allerdale and Theddlethorpe and Maplethorpe).  Likelihood all moving forward at same pace.

Reality is that they will be looking at these questions for all four sites initially and then, once sites are identified as being a possibility,  further geological studies (boreholes) will take place.

It could be all or only some of the sites already identified could move onto the borehole stage. 

When are we likely to find out?  They keep moving the date as to when the analysis of the seismic surveys will be available.  Earliest likely date they will know (but not us) is possibly May 2023; later date September 2023.  But again we do not know when they will tell us.  An educated guess would be January 2024 as the Community Partnership was set up in January 2022 and we were then able to start applying for GDF funding.  Once we have gone into January 2024 one assumes that would mean a third year to brainwash locals with GDF grant money. 

The longer they keep the actual site a mystery the better for the developers as this will avoid more people coming out against it.

Once we move onto the next stage, ie boreholes, it seems more likely (or not) Cumberland will feel a need to inform solicitors requesting area searches for possible house buyers that the area is under consideration for a GDF; this will then influence the selling market and prices will drop as people are unable to sell their houses.  Reaction from locals:  greater opposition to a GDF being sited here.


  • Geology – Collating existing information about geology in the Mid (sic, should read South) Copeland Search Area and the adjacent inshore area to provide an increased understanding of geology to help support further local studies. Seismic data collected last summer will be included when processed.
  • Implications of local geology – Consider the implications of local geology which may influence the engineering requirements and design of a GDF to ensure safe and secure dispose of radioactive waste.
  • Higher activity waste disposal – Consider the implications of local geology which may influence the disposal requirements and design of a GDF to ensure safe and secure disposal of radioactive waste.

(Are these three not the same thing?  Certainly connected.)

  • Future investigations – Identifying the deep borehole drilling techniques and investigations which could be used in the local area.

(They will need to do this irrespective of which area they choose.  Let’s hope they take on board disturbance of radioactive mud.)

  • Accessways (Tunnels) – Accessways is the underground tunnels or shafts which link a surface site to a disposal location. This will include looking at engineering feasibility such as number of accessways which could be required and appropriate mining methodology.

(Applicable to all sites?)


  • Land – understand potential local land requirements to support early engagement and raising awareness of future GDF investigations. 
  • Initial Transport Study – Gathering existing information about local transport to assess how a GDF may use the current transport infrastructure and consider what potential upgrades may be required.
  • Utilities (power) – Identifying power infrastructure and capacity to understand local supply and assess how a GDF may influence future demand.
  • Labour and skills – Identifying local skills levels to assess how a GDF may influence future employment and training opportunities.
  • Proximity to nuclear licensed sites – Understanding any operational requirements from an existing nuclear licensed site which may have an influence on the operations of a GDF.


On the South Copeland GDF Community Partnership website, Under Frequently Asked Questions, the Project Manager discusses Marine Geophysical Surveys and tells (April 2022) that following the surveys (which took place in July-August 2022) “there will be an extended period of analysis of the data – around nine months duration.” This implies the results will be known in May 2023.

Almost twelve months later, March 2023, in an interview with the Siting Manager we are now told “Data acquired in the seismic survey is being processed, which takes nine months. It will then be interpreted by geoscientists, taking an additional four months, meaning results will not be available for NWS to assess until the later part of 2023.” Even going on this revised information, the results should be known by September 2023.

Are they just confused? Or are they playing for time (so that more members of the community can be brainwashed by the incredible funding being made available for much needed projects in the area?) I wonder when we will be told what the results are?


Nuclear Waste Services (the developers) have started desk-based site evaluations for both South and Mid Copeland.

We are told the studies will take two to three years to complete and “will look at a range of topics which have taken into consideration community feedback gathered since the formation of the Community Partnership.”

A quote from the Siting Director tells us, “The work we’ve now started will address the most common topics to have emerged from our discussions with local people. It will begin to give us a much better understanding of the suitability of the area and enable us to consider how different elements of a GDF could be delivered in Copeland.”

But they have clearly chosen to ignore many of the concerns raised during discussions with local people in particular the negative effects on the local communities whilst continuing to emphasise the so-called positives: “A GDF is a multi-billion-pound infrastructure project, which could bring significant economic opportunities and thousands of jobs to the area which eventually hosts it.”

The chair of the Community Partnership, Ged McGrath (re-elected for a second year) welcomes the news “as the information provided will help to answer many of the questions raised by members of the public and aid understanding as to whether South Copeland could be a suitable location to host a GDF. We will keep the community updated with the latest information as and when the findings emerge.” Will they?

A further ‘News’ item shares an interview with the Siting Manager and identifies ten of their priorities, the top one being to collate previous information on the geology of the search area (one would have thought they would have done this before spending thousands on the seismic surveys). The studies will also include “Identifying the deep borehole drilling techniques and investigations which could be used in the local area.” (Let’s hope they take into account the radioactive mud).

Another priority (although near the bottom of the list) is to “understand potential local land requirements to support early engagement and raising awareness of future GDF investigations.” It is not rocket science to realise that the only viable position for the site would be in Haverigg, although this has now been complicated because Drigg has been added to our search area.