Sharing experience

The Environment Agencies’ Requirements Working Group (EARWG) was established in 2003 to share information regarding best practice in RAW minimisation. An objective of the UK LLW Management Plan is to identify and share waste minimisation practices in order to minimise the burden on the environment from disposal of radioactive wastes at the LLWR. In addi­tion to minimising waste disposals to the LLWR, the use of recycled materi­als rather than virgin resources is preferable because it saves energy, reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and other air and water pollutants and, of course, conserves natural resources.

There are a number of factors, including economic, regulatory and avail­ability that make the re-use and recycling of materials previously classified as solid RAW a challenging task. Nonetheless, segregation by decontamina­tion or physical removal may enable radioactive material to be removed from the bulk of low radioactivity material (i. e. high volume low activity or

exempt material). This means that only a relatively small volume of material needs to be classified as RAW, whilst the bulk of the low radioactivity mate­rial has the potential to be re-used or recycled. There is a range of physical, chemical, electrochemical and dismantling techniques that result in the segregation of solid material.

Both EARWG and the LLWR Strategy Group maintain websites to share information.

The SAFEGROUNDS (SAFety and Environmental Guidance for the Remediation of contaminated land On UK Nuclear and Defence Sites) learning network was established in 1998 and provides a forum for develop­ing and disseminating good practice guidance on the management of radio­actively and chemically contaminated land on nuclear and defence sites in the UK. SAFEGROUNDS is now well established and shares information via its website.

Partly arising from SAFEGROUNDS, the SD:SPUR (Site Decommis­sioning: Sustainable Practices in the Use of Resources) learning network was established in 2004 to develop through dialogue safe, socially, economi­cally and environmentally sustainable practices in the use of resources arising from the decommissioning of nuclear sites. The project has pub­lished guidance on the potential applications for the re-use and recycling of these wastes, and the factors controlling their supply and demand, and has developed a set of sustainability indicators that could be used by site operators when identifying and choosing between options for the manage­ment of these wastes. Information from SD:SPUR is shared freely through its website.

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