UK: Consultation On The Disposal Of Low Level Radioactive Waste

Last Updated: 18 June 2009
Article by Paul Sheridan, Gemma Sainsbury and Tresna Tunbridge

On 5 June, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (the "NDA") published a consultation on its draft UK Strategy for the Management of Solid Low Level Radioactive Waste (the "LLW Strategy"). The NDA was tasked with formulating the LLW Strategy as part of the Government's Policy for the Long Term Management of Solid Low Level Radioactive Waste in the United Kingdom published on 26 March 2007 (the "LLW Policy"). The LLW Policy sets out a new framework for the flexible management of solid low level radioactive waste ("LLW") having regard to the diverse physical, chemical and radiological nature of LLW and the increasing volume of LLW arising from large scale decommissioning and nuclear site restoration in the UK.

The LLW Strategy is primarily aimed at nuclear industry waste producers (both existing and new build nuclear power stations), environment regulators and waste planning bodies, but is also relevant to non-nuclear industry waste producers, waste management facility operators and suppliers of waste treatment services, particularly in relation to opportunities to develop new LLW management routes.

To view the article in full, please see below:



Full Article

On 5 June, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (the "NDA") published a consultation on its draft UK Strategy for the Management of Solid Low Level Radioactive Waste (the "LLW Strategy"). The NDA was tasked with formulating the LLW Strategy as part of the Government's Policy for the Long Term Management of Solid Low Level Radioactive Waste in the United Kingdom published on 26 March 2007 (the "LLW Policy"). The LLW Policy sets out a new framework for the flexible management of solid low level radioactive waste ("LLW") having regard to the diverse physical, chemical and radiological nature of LLW and the increasing volume of LLW arising from large scale decommissioning and nuclear site restoration in the UK.

The LLW Strategy is primarily aimed at nuclear industry waste producers (both existing and new build nuclear power stations), environment regulators and waste planning bodies, but is also relevant to non-nuclear industry waste producers, waste management facility operators and suppliers of waste treatment services, particularly in relation to opportunities to develop new LLW management routes.

The LLW Strategy aims to:

  • facilitate continued hazard reduction and decommissioning through application of the waste management hierarchy
  • provide continued capability and capacity for the safe, secure and environmentally responsible management and disposal of LLW in the UK for both the nuclear and non-nuclear industries
  • provide value for money approaches to the management of LLW and
  • ensure the most advantageous use of the only dedicated engineered LLW facility in the UK: the Low Level Waste Repository (the "LLWR").

The LLW Strategy describes three strategic issues which are explored in more detail below. The NDA identifies actions to address these strategic issues which either it or its partners (including the LLW Repository Ltd) will take.

1. Application of the waste management hierarchy to extend the life of the LLWR and ensure waste is managed in a risk-based fit-for purpose manner

The LLW Strategy considers that a more rigorous application of the waste management hierarchy can be used in the nuclear sector to reduce the volume of LLW generated, and therefore extend the life of the LLWR. The waste management hierarchy is: (i) avoidance and characterisation; (ii) minimise, re-use and recycle; (iii) treatment; and (iv) optimised disposal.

For example, the LLW Strategy recommends that improved segregation and characterisation of LLW would lead to exempting a significant proportion of LLW from regulation under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 altogether, thereby reducing the overall LLW inventory in the UK. Identifying and separating out Very Low Level Waste ("VLLW") from the remainder of LLW would open up more appropriate management routes for VLLW, which does not necessarily require the multi-barrier engineered containment provided by the LLWR and would conserve the limited capacity at the LLWR. The NDA has identified a number of actions to improve characterisation and segregation, including providing incentives through pricing strategies at the LLWR and in NDA contracts where applicable.

2. Best use of existing assets

Currently, LLW is packaged in drum containers that are only licensed for a single transportation and VLLW is used to fill any void space. The NDA wants to promote waste compaction, encourage the use of reusable containers for transport of waste and use boxes to store waste rather than drums containers which will help preserve space in the LLWR.

3. New fit-for-purpose waste management routes - where else can LLW go?

The LLW Strategy looks to the private sector to develop new or expanded routes for the disposal of LLW and the NDA identifies that the following options should be considered on a case-by-case basis where regulatory / safety requirements are satisfied:

  • in-situ disposal
  • specified landfill or incineration - locally, regionally or nationally (e.g. VLLW)
  • on-site or adjacent to site disposal (e.g. decommissioning rubble) and
  • other near surface facilities - locally, regionally or nationally (e.g. alternatives to the LLWR).

The landfill or incineration route could be of particular interest to conventional waste management companies and the NDA is keen to support the supply chain developing these new management and disposal routes. A strategic environmental assessment was launched alongside and underpins the LLW Strategy. This delivered a favourable view on using landfill for VLLW and suitable LLW and concluded that this would not significantly affect remaining UK landfill capacity.

However, challenges do remain to developing new fit-for-purpose waste management routes. The relevant regulatory authorisations required are complex and may include the likes of environmental permits (this regime is likely to be expanded to include the current authorisation process under the Radioactive Substances Act) and planning permissions (involving a possibly contentious public consultation process). Helpfully, the Environment Agency has recently produced initial guidance on how such activities will be regulated and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency is due to publish Scottish guidance later this year. Additionally, potentially problematic issues remain to be clarified in relation to nuclear liability under the Nuclear Installations Act.

The deadline for responses to the draft LLW Strategy is 11 September 2009 and the NDA intends to issue a revised LLW Strategy for Government approval in early 2010.

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com/law-now/mondaq

Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 17/06/2009.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.