Minister assures Nash the UK has ‘no plans’ to dump nuclear waste in the Mournes
Local 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.
Rumours have been rife in recent weeks that nuclear waste could be disposed of in the Mourne Mountains, just over the border in Co Down.
Responding to a query from Senator Nash on the matter, Minister Bruton said: “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.”
Welcoming the news, Labour Party Senator Nash 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.”