SECRET documents released by the Government have revealed High Wycombe was a potential base to store radioactive waste.

A 195-acre MOD site in the town which has not been named in the town was one of 537 locations across the UK to be geologically assessed in the 1980s.

Although the programme by which sites were chosen was abandoned in 1997, the sensitive dossier was shelved and its contents remained secret until last week.

Buckinghamshire county councillor Richard Pushman said the plan would have caused anger in Wycombe district if it had gone ahead.

He said: "I do not think I would have been happy about it had it gone ahead.

"I would need to be very reassurred that it was totally safe and inert, whether or not they can ever give that assurance I don't know."

Details of the historic list, compiled during the late 1980s, were published by Oxfordshire-based company Nirex under the Freedom of Information Act.

The independent firm is responsible for the long term management of the UK's radioactive waste. The shift in policy won praise from the Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum (NuLeAF).

Its chairman Geoff Blackwell said: "We do appreciate that the release of this list might raise real concerns in the local communities being named.

"NuLeAF understands Nirex's view that the list is mainly historic in nature, but recognises some locations could be considered again in a new siting process, depending on how the UK nuclear waste legacy is managed in the future."

The list explains that High Wycombe was one of 333 sites struck off the list in December 1984, during the first of six vetting stages.

The information has been welcomed by environmentalists. Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "It's a disgrace that the location of these sites has been kept from the public.

"Every community named on this list should take steps to help halt plans to expand nuclear power in the UK."

Chris Murray, managing director of Nirex, said should there be a new shortlist the current list of locations would not form the starting point of such a process.