Chairman's opening remarks

Professor C. D. Curtis (Session 1 Chairman; President of the Geological Society) welcomed participants to the meeting and pointed out the unique nature of the geological and hydrogeological survey and research programme being undertaken by Nirex. An intensive on-shore investigation is taking place in a sequence without any obvious hydrocarbon potential in an area of great general geological interest, the objective being to determine if the Sellafield site is suitable for the disposal of low and intermediate level radioactive waste. He indicated that the programme would focus on hydrogeology; following on from essentially geological presentations made in 1993 at the Yorkshire Geological Society meeting in Keyworth (Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Vol. 50, part 1, 1994).


Sir J. L. Knill commented on the quality of the geological and hydrogeological investigations carried out by Nirex and its contractors which had been so ably and clearly expressed at the meeting. Much of the work was at the leading edge internationally and there could be little doubt that the basic dataset would, in the main, be highly reliable.

Throughout the presentations, the contributors had clearly and repeatedly underlined the uncertainties, and the need for more investigation before a full evaluation of the suitability of the site for the deep disposal of intermediate radioactive waste could be assessed. This highly conditional attitude could not be faulted. However, this precautionary approach was in sharp contrast to public statements which indicated greater confidence within the nuclear industry regarding the suitability of

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