Nuclear waste to be transferred and processed close to Frodsham

By Alex Greensmith

4th Nov 2021 | Local News

Frodsham: What do you make of the Urenco plans?
Frodsham: What do you make of the Urenco plans?

Frodsham: Nuclear waste will be transferred on our doorstep, as new plans inside a Chester factory were approved.

Radioactive waste will be transported to Cheshire for treatment after new plans were given the green light, despite criticism from local councillors over consultation and traffic concerns.

Urenco UK's uranium enrichment facility on Capenhurst Lane in Chester currently handles 2,000 tonnes of radioactive waste a year., which is produced as part of its existing, internal operations.

But the firm applied for a change of use to allow it to also handle an additional 5,000 tonnes of very low level (VLL) and LL (low level) radioactive waste which will be brought in from outside the complex.

Planning chiefs recently met to rubber-stamp the plans, despite concerns over the quality of data provided in support of the application and fears over traffic safety and impact of HGV movements on local highways.

LL waste is defined as not requiring shielding during handling and transport and is suitable for disposal in near surface facilities. The council's waste needs assessments also defines it as 'lightly contaminated miscellaneous scrap, including metals, soil, building rubble, paper towels, clothing and laboratory equipment'. Most can be disposed of at specified landfill sites or thermal treatment facilities, the council report said.

Once the waste has gone through processes such as decontamination and repackaging, it would then be disposed of, with possible sites identified including the Veolia incinerator at Ellesmere Port, Clifton March landfill near Preston and Augean landfill at Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire.

The plans said there would be an extra six HGVs moving in and out of the site each day.

Addressing a meeting of Cheshire West and Chester's Planning Committee, councillor for Saughall and Mollington Simon Eardley, said a decision should be delayed until facts around the application could be clarified.

He said: "I was very disappointed to read in the initial documentation that the local parish council had been fully consulted on the likely development and that they were fully supportive, this is wholly false.

He said: "The concerns of the parish council which reflect the wider community are substantive, around traffic safety in particular and should be taken seriously.

"The substantive concern is that increased traffic will have a detrimental impact on the safety of the community and the road network."

He said there had been a request by Capenhurst and Ledsham Parish Council for Urenco to produce an independent traffic survey, feasibility study and modelling but that was not what had been provided, claiming the document produced by the planning agent instead contained 'inaccuracies' which he branded 'poor work'.

He added: "There can be little confidence in the veracity of any data that has been provided to the committee."

Proposing the plans be approved, committee member Cllr Peter Rooney, said: "It's not a huge increase in their workload. It's a highly specialised area that's very tightly regulated."

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