OR/14/039 Background to the study

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Mathers, S J, Terrington, R L, Waters, C N, and Thorpe S. 2014. The construction of a bedrock geology model for England and Wales. British Geological Survey Internal Report, OR/14/039.

The Government remains firmly committed to geological disposal as the right policy for the long-term safe and secure management of higher-activity radioactive waste, and continues to hold the view that the best means of selecting a site for a geological disposal facility (GDF) is an approach based on voluntarism and partnership.

In line with Secretary of State Edward Davey’s written Ministerial statement of 31 January 2013, Government has been considering what lessons can be learned from the experiences of the MRWS programme in West Cumbria and elsewhere.

Feedback from a wide range of stakeholders has indicated that a robust presentation of what is known and what is not known about the geology of any area wishing to learn more about the MRWS process will be needed at an early stage in the process. The BGS GB3D fence diagram model provides the only nationally consistent representation of the bedrock geology of England and Wales to depths of at least 1 km. It is recognised that the links between this dataset and the underpinning geological evidence would need to be strengthened and rigorous peer review performed to enable an enhanced GB3D dataset for England and Wales to inform the MRWS process.

The scope of the work was as follows:

  • Identifying about 300 publicly available deep boreholes which represent the geological structure of England and Wales and have been adequately classified using stratigraphic picks corresponding to the resolution of the GB3D model.
  • Adjusting segments of the existing GB3D cross-sections and producing further cross-sections to incorporate these deep boreholes. In addition a few more sections would be constructed in previously poorly represented regions or areas where the geology is extremely diverse.
  • Assembling detailed metadata and compiling legacy metadata on sources utilised in the construction of the GB3D cross-sections in particular including underpinning higher-resolution 3D models.