PLANS to store thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste in Oxfordshire have been approved, despite local objections.

The scheme will see a new 92,000sq ft storage unit built at Harwell business park to hold the metal from decommissioned nuclear reactors.

For more than 30 years the waste from Harwell’s disused reactors will be sealed inside concrete blocks until a permanent underground disposal site can be completed.

There will also be radioactive material transported from Culham, near Abingdon and, more controversially, from Winfrith in Dorset to be stored in the facility.

At a meeting of Oxfordshire County Council’s planning and regulation committee yesterday, John Sharp, chairman of East Hendred Parish Council, said: “We have no objection to building the store, our concern is the bringing of the waste from Winfrith, which requires the site to be larger than it would be normally.”

Labour councillor John Tanner added: “Nuclear waste ought to be left where it is generated.”

But in line with recommendations of their officers, councillors voted to approve the plans.

Lib Dem councillor Jenny Hannaby said: “It is much better to have a new building which will be safe and in time the waste will be gone.”

Approximately 2,500 cubic metres of waste would be stored until the new facility opens in 2040.