New search for communities willing to host underground site for thousands of years.
Local communities around England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be offered £1m a year to volunteer to host an underground nuclear waste disposal facility for thousands of years, as part of a rebooted government programme.
The financial incentive is one way the government hopes to encourage communities to host the £12bn facility, after previous efforts failed in 2013 when Cumbria county council rejected the project.
Under new plans published on Thursday, a test of public support will be required for the scheme to go ahead, which could include a local referendum.
The only areas to explore the idea last time round were Copeland and Allerdale borough councils in Cumbria, and Shepway District Council in Kent.
This time, interested communities that explore hosting the facility will also receive £1m a year, which officials say could be spent on developing skills locally or apprenticeships. The payments, which could rise to £2.5m annually as a community considers whether to proceed, are expected to last for around five years.
The geological disposal facility (GDF) is seen by experts as the best long-term solution to storing the estimated 750,000 cubic metres of waste generated by half a century of nuclear power and defence, which would fill three quarters of Wembley Stadium.