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National Geological Screening Independent Review Panel

Final Report

The final report of the panel was submitted in 2017 and is available to view and download in the right hand margin of this webpage. On 19 December 2018 the National Geological Screening documentation was published and is available to view on the UK Government website.


Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) undertook a consultation on its proposals for assembling and presenting information on the geology of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. These proposals form the National Geological Screening Guidance.

The 12 week consultation was an important step to ensuring public involvement in the government and RWM’s programme of work to plan for, build and operate a geological disposal facility (GDF) deep underground, providing a permanent solution for the country’s most radioactive waste. The approach for this will be based on working with communities that are willing to participate in the siting process.

The consultation ran from Tuesday 8 September till Friday 4 December 2015.

The national geological screening guidance is being developed by Radioactive Waste Management Limited (RWM), following a July 2014 White Paper setting out the framework for the siting of a Geological Disposal Facility.  RWM is also responsible for applying the national geological screening guidance.

In producing the guidance, the panel assessed whether it was geologically and technically sound; can be applied using existing geological information; and provides a basis for assessing the prospects for developing a long-term safety case in a range of geological settings to accommodate the UK inventory of higher activity waste. The panel also assessed whether the guidance has been applied accurately and consistently, and in a manner likely to engender public confidence.

The panel reported to DECC and then BEIS after each phase of its work. The initial review of the screening guidance was completed in 2015 with the second phases extending into 2017 when the final report was published.  The panel operates independently of the Geological Society, DECC, BEIS and RWM, and carried out its assessment through engaging with RWM and its contractors, members of the public and interested stakeholders.

The panel includes members with a broad range of geoscience expertise, and experts from the UK, Sweden and Canada, with backgrounds in both industry and academia. Two members were selected from among those who volunteered to join the panel in response to an open call to Geological Society Fellows.

The Members of the Panel are:

  • Prof Chris Hawkesworth FRS - University of Bristol (Chair)
  • Prof Mike Bickle FRS - University of Cambridge
  • Mr John Black - Insite Hydro/Independent consultant
  • Dr Robert Chaplow - Independent consultant
  • Dr Karin Högdahl - Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Prof Zoe Shipton - University of Strathclyde
  • Prof Richard Smith - Laurentian University, Canada

Independent Review Panel Final Report

The final report of the Independent Review Panel is an overview of the processes and outputs of the panel and summarises the conclusions of the panel with regards to the draft national screening guidance, rather than the sum of the work completed.  

Their substantive work came to an end with the submission of their final report in 2017, and the outputs of the screening itself were published on 19 December 2018.

The Panel's Remit

The remit of the Independent Review Panel will be in two phases.