Integrated waste management strategy

UK government policy requires that there is effective management of all RAW in the UK. An integrated waste strategy (IWS) is one of the require­ments of site licence operators working under the auspices of the NDA, and the environment agencies and HSE are encouraging other nuclear sites to do so as well (SD:SPUR, 2007). (If an IWS is not prepared, a site waste management plan is required for new construction sites with costs in excess of £300,000.) Development and maintenance of an IWS is one of the stand­ard requirements attached to radioactive substances activity permits issued by the Environment Agency under EPR10 (as amended). The NDA’s overall strategy for RAW management of the bulk of the UK’s civil nuclear sites is reviewed every five years in response to a requirement of the Energy Act (2004).

For LLW, the primary strategic aim is to reduce the amount of waste being disposed of to reduce overall NDA liabilities and costs by retaining future capacity of the UK’s primary LLW repository, the LLWR, at Drigg, Cumbria (Figs 16.4 and 16.5).

Strategy development for the UK ’s higher activity wastes has evolved following recommendations from the independent Committee on Radioac­tive Waste Management (CoRWM) to the UK government in 2006 (CoRWM, 2006). Government in England and Wales accepted the recom­mendations for developing safe and secure methods for interim storage of HAW, coupled with an ongoing research and development programme prior to the development of a geological disposal solution for the perma­nent disposal of the wastes. The devolved administrations’ position on HAW is slightly different. The Welsh Assembly Government chose to reserve its position on geological disposal whilst acknowledging the CoRWM recommendations. Scotland’ s HAW policy, set out in a recent document

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16.4 The LLWR site in March 2010. SSSI is a site of special scientific interest due usually to its rare flora and fauna. Reproduced with permission of LLWR Ltd.

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Disposals to LLWR by year

16.5 Historical and projected disposals to LLWR by volume, 1959-2019.

(Scottish Government, 2011), outlined the preferred option for the long­term management of HAW in near-surface facilities near to the source of the waste.

UK government agreed with the CoRWM recommendations for the geological disposal facility to be permanently sealed once operations ceased, although the policy recognises that the final decision on this remains flex­ible. The NDA’s revised strategy is structured according to a number of themes to focus future development: site restoration, spent fuels, nuclear materials, integrated waste management, business optimisation and critical enablers. Of these, site restoration, supported by integrated waste manage­ment, are considered to be the driving forces.

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