National regulators govern the waste management programmes in their countries. Nevertheless, there is a considerable harmonisation of policy and principles in regard to waste disposal safety. The UK approach is considered by way of example (Cmnd 2919, 1995). There are also however differences, particularly in regard to the high — level waste disposal issue, already discussed earlier.

In the UK, the same legislative framework exists for waste management and decommissioning, as exists for operating nuclear power plant. Activities are governed by the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974 and the associated statutory provisions of the Nuclear Installations Act, 1965. More details are given in Chapter 8.

The UK national policy was reviewed in the 1995 White Paper; the conclusions are given in Cmnd 2919 (1995). The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has defined 10 policy issues. These are summarised in Table 6.2.

Table 6.2. HSE policy issues for radioactive waste management



Strategic planning

Licensees must develop programmes within an appropriate timescale

Site-specific waste strategies

Licensees must provide for the

management of all radioactive waste on site

Continuity of radioactive waste management responsibilities throughout a licensee’s period of responsibility

HSE must manage radioactive waste on site through to the end of their period of responsibility under NIA65

Generation of waste

Waste is not unnecessarily created and the generation and accumulation of waste should follow ALARP

Balance of risks to workers, the public and the environment Segregation and characterisation of wastes

The total detriment should follow ALARP

Where practical and cost effective, waste should be segregated to facilitate the overall safe management of conditioning, storage, retrieval and subsequent disposal

Disposal of radioactive waste Safe storage of radioactive waste

Disposals in accordance with RSA93 Where practical and cost effective, it should be stored in a passively safe form and in a manner to facilitate

Retrieval or transfer of stored waste

final disposal

HSE expects that new waste

storage facilities should be designed with retrieval and transfer in mind

Project use of storage facilities

Existing waste forms and waste

storage facilities should be reviewed through an appropriate maintenance and surveillance programme

Bacon (1997).

A key requirement is the need for strategic planning. Where disposal routes exist, the general principle is to move towards long-term storage with the waste in a passive safe form, rather than an approach that requires frequent monitoring.

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