AEA Technology has won a £1.5m contract from Nirex to carry out studies into how the deep burial of nuclear waste may affect the nearby population.
An AEA spokesman said the work would include laboratory tests to see how long it took radionuclides to pass through different types of rock strata as well as analysis of data from Nirex’s site investigations.
However, he stressed AEA would not be carrying out site specific work.
Nirex has had a question mark over its future since the previous government vetoed its plans to develop an underground waste repository at Sellafield in early 1997.
The company’s nuclear industry shareholders have slashed its budget since then, and the House of Lords committee that subsequently reviewed the whole radioactive waste issue recommended this summer that the organisation be disbanded.
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