ONR guidance on radioactive waste management

ONR guidance on radioactive waste management has been updated as a result of comments received since February 2010.

Following a consultation exercise in 2002 the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Scottish Executive and the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) accepted a proposal from HSE, the Environment Agency (EA) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), (collectively referred to as “the regulators”), aimed at improving the regulatory arrangements for conditioning ILW on nuclear licensed sites. The proposed arrangements aimed to bring the consideration of waste conditioning within the regulators’ processes and were to be implemented through joint regulatory working arrangements. The regulators issued a Position Statement [1]in 2003, which explained the improved regulatory arrangements and was informed by the outcomes from a twelve month review of the regulators’ proposal with key stakeholders. (The Position Statement details the improvements to the regulatory process and the reasoning behind these changes, and should be consulted if further information on this topic is required).

In the Position Statement, the regulators set out a joint commitment to produce guidance explaining the improved regulatory process for evaluating proposals from licensees to condition ILW on nuclear licensed sites. The original joint guidance was issued in 2005 to fulfil this commitment.

In 2006 the Government’s response to recommendations by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), established in England and Wales, that deep geological disposal is the preferred route for the long-term management of radioactive waste that is not suitable for near-surface disposal. It also gave the responsibility for delivering the programme for a deep geological repository to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) [2]. The Scottish Government have a policy of long term interim, near site, near surface safe and secure storage

In response to these changes, and requests from nuclear industry representatives for more detailed guidance, HSE, EA and SEPA revised their 2005 guidance and developed a series of joint guidance documents on the management of higher activity radioactive waste.