Nuclear expansion plan thwarted after Cumbria no vote to underground store
Plans to expand the UK's nuclear industry are in disarray after the only area to show interest in hosting an underground radioactive waste storage centre decided to thoroughly reject the idea.
Cumbria county council's cabinet voted by more than 2-1 to pull out of feasibility studies, following expert critiques of the fractured local geology and an international outcry over the threat to the western Lake District.
The decision is a major blow to government ambitions to build new nuclear power plants, with ministers accepting that the UK needs a credible and permanent solution to dealing with current and future waste. Green MP Caroline Lucas said the government's nuclear ambitions were now "completely derailed".
Opinion in West Cumbria has been respectful of Sellafield's huge economic importance since the 1950s but public meetings were swayed by the strength of scepticism from geologists. The huge depot, covering an underground area the size of Workington, was also required to meet unprecedented standards, including a guarantee of no leaks for a million years.