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Outstanding issues

1 September 2022

Dear Editors,
Proposals for Deep Borehole Disposal (DBD) have been the subject of their own dedicated discussion meetings, such as the first open international conference on DBD held in Sheffield in 2016. These proposals were not recommended by the original Committee on Radioactive Waste Management during their review of the options for the long-term management of the UK’s waste in 2006, but these concepts have been under consideration in the UK and elsewhere.  

However, there are outstanding issues with DBD that must be resolved before the claimed benefits could be considered reliably achievable in a nuclear-regulated environment with intense socio-political scrutiny.

In particular, DBD technologies may well be of benefit in national programmes with small inventories of waste for disposal, but they would be unlikely to entirely remove the need for a mined GDF in programmes with large and diverse inventories – and here I must disagree with Dobson because the UK inventory is large and diverse. Nonetheless, DBD concepts are still being considered because they may deliver a beneficial solution for some materials in future.

Mike Bowman
The Yorkshire Geological Society and Honorary Professor at the University of Manchester, UK

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