SOUTH Lakeland residents have been given a chance to quiz geologists and nuclear experts about the potential implications of storing radioactive waste under western Cumbria.

A drop-in session was held at Kendal Town Hall on Tuesday as part of a county-wide consultation programme following the Government’s controversial decision to expand nuclear power.

Although there is no suggestion a radioactive waste dump would be built beneath South Lakeland, the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Parnership says there could be positve and negative implications for the district. While it would create job opportunities for South Lakelanders, there could also be an impact on tourism.

And there are potential health and safety issues as nuclear waste for storage beneath west Cumbria would have to be transported across South Lakeland.

The anti-nuclear campaign group Radiation Free Lakeland staged a small demonstration outside the town hall. A leading member, the wildlife artist Marianne Birkby, said: “The proposals could see tens of thousands of tonnes of spent fuel from new reactors being stored for many decades before they are disposed of.

“This would pose major environmental and security risks.”

Consultation over nuclear waste storage follows an expression of interest in hosting a facility by Copleland and Allerdale district councils and Cumbria County Council.