Six hectares of land at Harwell, the UK’s first nuclear site, have been delicensed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) this month (January 2012), marking a significant achievement within the decommissioning programme at the site.
The Harwell site is being decommissioned and restored by Babcock-owned site licence company RSRL. Extensive surveying and sampling work was carried out to demonstrate that this latest tranche of land was suitable for delicensing.
The closure programme at Harwell focuses on progressive hazard reduction by processing radioactive waste, decommissioning facilities and remediating land. This includes making radioactive waste passively safe, decommissioning redundant nuclear facilities, remediating contaminated land and groundwater, demolishing redundant buildings, and delicensing the site.
The removal of six hectares from the nuclear site licence by the ONR this month represents an important milestone in the programme, and means that 20% of the Harwell site has now been successfully cleaned up and restored.
Alan Neal, RSRL Managing Director, said: “Delicensing represents the final stage of the nuclear life cycle and demonstrates that we have completed our mission on that area of land. It also clears the way for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to de-designate the area, allowing the land to be re-used.”
Babcock Managing Director Nuclear, Roger Hardy, commented: “This work at Harwell shows that hazards can be removed, delicensing can be completed and that site costs reduce significantly the quicker the land can be remediated. Babcock is working with the NDA to deliver cost-effective site closure programmes at Dounreay, Harwell and Winfrith.”