Councillors are remaining 'completely neutral' on whether an underground storage for nuclear waste should come to the borough.

Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie's executives discussed the council's involvement in the multi-billion-pound geological disposal facility at a meeting on Monday.

With Mayor Starkie absent, Deputy Mayor David Moore led the meeting, stressing that the council remains "completely neutral" on the facility, being managed by organisation Radioactive Waste Management.

"It's about the revised council mission statement," he said. "This is requesting any interested parties to come forward, with a view to perhaps starting a working group in the area."

He continued, clarifying that no decisions have yet been made: "We don't have a position whether Copeland is the right place or the wrong place for it.

"What we have done, and worked with members through two workshops and a member briefing, is to develop a position statement whereby should an interested party come forward within Copeland, we would be in the position to join that working group."

Coun Moore added: "We're not aware at this stage of anything coming forward – we just want to prepare ourselves."

Although Copeland has at the forefront of discussions for the nuclear waste storage facility, being at the heart of the nuclear industry with Sellafield, the Government is considering all options around England and Wales.

It was also highlighted by both coun Moore and RWM's initial documents that the store, known as GDF, will not be considered in an area it's not wanted, with initial stages of investigation not needing authority support.

However, if it progresses to a legal footing, at least one supporting council is needed.

Coun Moore said: "We need to be in a position, should it come forward, that we could engage in a working group if we were invited to do so. It's not for us to start that process, we would be an invitee only."

He continued: "One of the things that was very clear was whatever happens with GDF, wherever it be, we will be at the front end of that piece of business.

"Whatever happens, whether the materials are moving 10 miles or 300 miles, we here in Copeland will have a massive impact.

"We will be responsible for processing, packaging and the transportation of that material leaving the Sellafield site."

Councillor Steve Morgan agreed, and said: "What's very important to recognise is that the process for the GDF begins at Sellafield, and most of the work is going to be done on Sellafield and through Copeland – we can't sit on the sidelines.

"We have to be vocal, we have to be active, and I think it's absolutely imperative that our position be clearly identified in this policy statement."

In 2013, Cumbria's bid to be considered for the GDF collapsed when the county council withdrew from the process.

The decision forced the Government back to the drawing board, and it took five years for a new search to begin.

The 2013 plans drew fierce opposition from campaigners across the county, who said the region's faulted geology was not suitable.