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Independent Review Panel - Call for volunteers

In July, after almost eighteen months of consultation, the UK Government published a White Paper setting out a revised process for the siting of a geological disposal facility (GDF) for radioactive waste. It focuses on initial actions to be carried out over the first two years in preparation for a renewed call for potential volunteer host communities, including provision of geological information to inform the volunteer process, achieving greater clarity about payment of benefits to potential host communities, and improving the planning process to enable site investigations and ultimately the construction of a GDF. You can read more about the White Paper and the role of the Geological Society at

The developer, Radioactive Waste Management Ltd (RWM), is to carry out a national geological screening exercise prior to the start of formal engagement with potential host communities (planned to start in 2016). RWM staff and contractors will develop guidance for the screening process, and will also be responsible for its implementation, which is intended to facilitate communication to potential host communities of what is known at a high level about aspects of the geology in their area relevant to development of a GDF.

As set out in the White Paper, Council of the Geological Society has agreed to establish an Independent Review Panel, to review and evaluate the draft guidance for the screening process, and its subsequent application by RWM. Once established, the panel will work independently of the Society and report to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). DECC will pay reasonable travel and subsistence costs of Panel members and give sympathetic consideration to requests for recompense for loss of earnings.

The amount of work involved in phase 1 (review of the screening guidance) is estimated at five days, and most of this work is currently expected to fall in March/April 2015. No estimate has been made of the time commitment expected from Panel members for phase 2 (review of the application of the guidance), which is currently scheduled to happen in parallel with the application of the guidance between November 2015 and July 2016, but we anticipate that this might also be of the order of five days.

Council has agreed that one or more members of the Panel might be selected from among those Fellows of the Society who volunteer to do so.

To express your interest in joining the Panel, please email Nic Bilham ([email protected]) by 10.00am on Monday 5 January 2015, setting out briefly your expertise and experience relevant to the work of the Panel.

The remit of the Panel, agreed by the Society and DECC: Independent Panel Remit