The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has sent today its views on a planning application made by Magnox Sites Ltd / Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) permitting transports of intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW) from a number of Magnox sites to Hinkley Point A for interim storage.
Magnox is seeking planning permission from Somerset County Council to move a small amount of waste to the Hinkley Point A (HPA) site for interim storage. The Company is asking for changes to the present legal situation to allow them to bring radioactive waste from other Magnox sites to the new Intermediate Waste Store being built at HPA.
Magnox want to bring 110 Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) metal skips, cut up and delivered in 14 lorry loads. They say it will only take up the remaining 5% space of the store, with no room for any more. They say there is no room to build and expand the store for more waste. However, local resident campaign groups and the NFLA are concerned about the wording of the legal application which could, in theory, allow further imports beyond the proposed 14 lorry loads. Once a precedent has been set perhaps more waste imports could be proposed in future. (1)
NFLA make four core conclusions in its objection to the planning application:
- The skips, once transported to Hinkley Point A and placed in concrete containers could remain on site until at least 2075.
- The numbers of skips and concrete boxes given in the 2016 Radioactive Waste Inventory do not match those given in the information leaflet within the planning application. This needs to be explained.
- Local Authorities will want to be reassured that the packages intended to be used to transport the skips meet International Regulations, and that they have been tested to ensure they can meet the regulations under accident conditions.
- Local Authorities will also need to know what arrangements are being made for emergencies should there be an accident, and whether the NDA will inform all local authorities on the route before each transport is made. (2)
In addition, NFLA have asked a number of specific direct questions of Magnox / NDA by email seeking further clarification on these issues. (3)
NFLA remains concerned with the increased amount of transports of radioactive materials around the UK, and is about to publish a separate briefing on this matter. In this response, NFLA reiterates its call on the NDA to review the necessity and utility of transports of radioactive materials by road, rail and sea and to avoid them wherever practical to do so. It also calls on a greater level of openness and transparency from NDA with such transports and in discussions with the local authorities through which transports are made, particularly with local authority emergency planning officers and the emergency services.
NFLA supports recent calls made in the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments over the NDA informing local authorities of such transports of waste, and involving discussion-making with all Councils on transport routes, to improve emergency planning arrangements
NFLA Steering Committee and English Forum Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:
“For some time NFLA has been concerned with emerging NDA / Magnox policy on the management of radioactive waste, which has been moving inexorably to a ‘diluting and dispersing’ strategy rather than ‘concentrating and containing’ waste. NFLA is particularly concerned with the increased number of transports of radioactive waste with its underlying risks. Our questions to the NDA seek to challenge their policy in this area and calls for them to review it within their next comprehensive strategy process.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) Bridgwater Mercury 30th May 2019
(2) NFLA Radioactive Waste Policy Briefing 79, July 2019 attached with this media release.
(3) The 6 questions NFLA are asking of the NDA / Magnox are:
- Are we right in thinking that the waste in question is covered in the UK Radioactive Waste Inventory (2016) by the following data sheets: 9C44; 9E61; 9F39?
- The number of concrete boxes and skips given in the inventory are not the same as those contained in the consultation document. According to the Bridgwater Mercury 52 skips will come from the Dungeness A, 36 will come from Sizewell A and 27 from Oldbury, making a total of 115. The Inventory suggests a total of 520 skips. Please explain.
- The only information in the consultation material is that a full height ISO container could be used to deliver skips to Hinkley Point A Site in up to 14 HGV movements. Transport of radioactive material by its nature gives rise to the risk of accidents with the potential for radiological exposures that could impact the safety of people, property and the environment. What tests have been performed on these containers to ensure that in the event of an accident they would prevent Loss or dispersal of the radioactive contents?
- Is there a limit set for level of radiation on the external surfaces of the container?
- Will the transport containers comply with international regulations?
- What arrangements are being made for emergencies should there be an accident? Will the NDA enter discussions with the local authorities through which transports are made, particularly with local authority emergency planning officers and the emergency services, and will they inform all local authorities on the transport routes before the transports are made?