Commission clears plan for disposal of radioactive waste on decommissioning of Windscale pile reactor chimneys at Sellafield (OJ link)

February 14, 2005

Brussels, 11 February 2005

Commission Opinion of 22 December 2004 concerning the plan for the disposal of radioactive waste arising from the decommissioning of the Windscale Pile Reactor Chimneys at Sellafield in Cumbria in the United Kingdom, in accordance with Article 37 of the Euratom Treaty (OJ C36/3 11.2.2005).
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On 16 April 2004, the European Commission received from the Government of the United Kingdom, in accordance with Article 37 of the Euratom Treaty, General Data relating to the plan for the disposal of radioactive waste arising from the decommissioning of the Windscale Pile Reactor Chimneys.

On the basis of these data and additional information requested by the Commission on 9 July 2004 and provided by the Government of the United Kingdom on 3 September 2004, and following consultation with the group of experts, the Commission has drawn up the following opinion:

a) The distance between the plant and the nearest point of another Member State, in this case Ireland, is approximately 180 km.

b) During normal decommissioning operation, discharges of liquid and gaseous effluent will not cause an exposure of the population in other Member States that is significant from the point of view of health.

c) Solid radioactive waste arising from the decommissioning will be stored in a facility off-site. Non-radioactive solid waste and materials in compliance with clearance levels will be released from regulatory control for disposal as conventional waste or for recycling or reuse. This will be done in compliance with the criteria laid down in the Basic Safety Standards (Directive 96/29/Euratom).

d) In the event of unplanned releases of radioactive waste, which may follow an accident of the type and magnitude considered in the General Data, the doses likely to be received by the population in other Member States would not be significant from the point of view of health. It was noted in previous opinions that a bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom and Ireland concerning emergency preparedness was not in place. The statement that work on an Early Notification Bilateral Agreement between the two Member States is nearing a positive conclusion is acknowledged. It is recommended that this work be continued and brought to a successful and timely conclusion.

In conclusion, the Commission is of the opinion that the implementation of the plan for the disposal of radioactive waste in whatever form arising from the decommissioning of the Windscale Pile Reactor Chimneys at Sellafield in the United Kingdom, both in normal operation and in the event of an accident of the type and magnitude considered in the General Data, is not liable to result in radioactive contamination, significant from the point of view of health, of the water, soil or airspace of another Member State.

Official Journal of the EU, No. C36/3 11.2.2005 Previous Item Back to Titles Print Item

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