Nuclear energy

Disposal of nuclear waste

Sir, – The letter from Greenpeace EU on December 7th, “Nuclear energy – enormous downsides,” shows a lack of awareness and research into the issues of nuclear waste disposal, and is very misleading. Why, I don’t know, because it is very easy to find the facts on disposal of nuclear waste.

As a spokesperson for an EU-based organisation, the letter writer, Silvia Pastorelli, must be aware that the EU Parliament backed a net zero industry “wishlist” on November 21st which includes nuclear.

Research over decades has shown that safe long-term storage of the waste is achieved by building a deep underground repository in stable geological formations without groundwater ingress.

The waste is vitrified, then encased in durable metal containers, which are encased in a thick impermeable clay buffer. The Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository in Finland is an example of this, and Canada has adopted a similar plan.


To quote Sellafield is again misleading. That was an error-strewn 70-year-old project which is now history, except that remediation of leaks is continuing. Again, to criticise the cost of the Flamanville reactor in France is not appropriate, as the problems arose from faulty imported steel.

France has 56 operating nuclear power stations that produced 70 per cent of the country’s requirements in 2019. Major economies need these complex expensive power stations to decarbonise their economies and fight climate change.

Ireland will be using some French nuclear power when the interconnector is completed, and we already use a portion of nuclear power via the interconnector with the UK.

We need this power to balance the intermittent nature of renewables, as pointed out again by Dr Anne Bailey in Letters, December 4th. – Yours, etc,


Co Cork.