UK invites comment on decommissioning strategy

21 August 2020

The UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has launched a public consultation on its Draft Strategy, Cleaning up the UK's earliest nuclear sites, caring for people and the environment. Its strategy is a requirement of the Energy Act, covers 100+ years, is published every five years and includes a public consultation period of 12 weeks. The latest consultation ends on 8 November.

The Dounreay site (Image: DSRL)

In its strategy documents, the NDA describes how it will ensure that the UK's nuclear legacy sites are decommissioned and cleaned up safely, securely, cost-effectively and in ways that protect people and the environment. Its estate consists of 17 nuclear sites across the UK, 800+ buildings to be demolished, 11 businesses and 15,000 employees. 

One example of its estate is Dounreay, near Thurso, which was the UK site for the development of fast reactor research from 1955 to 1994. In the Draft Strategy, the NDA says it would be 2333 before the 148-acre site, on the north Caithness coast, is safe for reuse.

In a foreword to the Draft Strategy, the NDA says the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may be considerable, which will introduce uncertainty into the timing and duration of the spending review process so that any exercise undertaken will be set in a "radically different" fiscal environment, which is "likely to compound an already challenging situation". Until the spending review outcome becomes clearer, the overall impact on the NDA's strategy delivery is unknown. it adds.

The document includes 20 questions, which include: How ambitious should we be in supporting UK government and the devolved administrations’ sustainability targets, including their commitment on carbon reduction? and, Do you agree with our aspiration to re-use waste for a purpose on site (e.g. void filling and landscaping) where it represents a net benefit and allows the site end state to be achieved?

The NDA says it wants to hear from members of the public, nuclear regulators, employees within its Site Licence Companies, trade unions, local authorities, Site Stakeholder Groups, Non-Governmental Organisations and any other organisation or public body. It will then issue a response to the consultation, including a summary of responses received, and revise the Draft Strategy as appropriate. Subject to final approval by both the UK and Scottish governments, the NDA will publish the final version of this document by the end of March 2021.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News