The UK’s Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (Corwm) has released its draft recommendations for the long-term management of the UK’s radioactive waste.

The recommendations envisage deep geologic disposal with “robust” interim storage until long-term sites are identified and prepared.

However, the recommendations warn that the process leading to the creation of suitable facilities for disposal may take several decades or even several generations. Corwm also believes that there needs to be a contingency in the event of any technical problems that emerge during design or construction, or any delays arising from social or ethical challenges related to finding a host community, adding that so-called interim storage must be “robust enough to house waste for a significant period of time” before it can be transferred into an underground repository.

Nonetheless, in releasing its recommendations, the Committee urged the government to move as quickly as possible to implement its recommendations once they are finalised by the end of July.

Gordon MacKerron, chairman of Corwm said: “The Committee has confidence that geological disposal is the best end point for managing our waste. It is the option that should perform best in terms of security, protecting the public and the environment. It is also the most fair it means taking action now over the waste we have created and not leaving it to future generations to deal with.”

The recommendations, which arrive after three years of deliberations and consultations, will now be subject to further consultation before Corwm delivers its final report to Defra, and the devolved administrations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Corwm refuses to be drawn into the location debate other than to say that it believes host communities should be identified on the basis of “a willingness to participate.”