Favourable Commission opinion on planned disposal of radioactive waste under UK's Dounreay site restoration plan Brussels, 27 April 2005

April 28, 2005

Brussels, April 2005

Commission Opinion of 25 April 2005 concerning the plan for the disposal of radioactive waste arising from Dounreay Site Restoration Plan (DSRP) in Scotland in the United Kingdom, in accordance with Article 37 of the Euratom Treaty (OJ C101/28 .4.2005).
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On 5 May 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 Dounreay site Restoration Plan (DSRP).

Having examined the General Data, as well as the extensive amount of complementary information requested during the review by the Commission in order to complete the information provided in the initial General Data, the Commission notes that in the course of this procedure, the UK authorities provided not only new information but also corrections to the initial General Data in particular as regards the radiological impact assessment of certain accidents scenarios that could result in unplanned discharges.

On the basis of the entire set of information provided and following consultation with the Group of Experts, the Commission has drawn up the following opinion:

1. The distance between the plant and the nearest point of another Member State, in this case Ireland, is approximately 645 km.

2. Under normal operating conditions, the discharges of liquid and gaseous effluents will not cause an exposure of the population in other Member States significant from the point of view of health.

3. Low and intermediate level solid radioactive waste arising from the operations of the Dounreay Site Restoration Plan will be stored on-site. Low level solid radioactive waste will be transferred later to Drigg or to other authorised disposal facilities. Disposal facilities for intermediate level solid radioactive waste will not be available before 2040. 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).

4. In the event of unplanned discharges 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.

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 Dounreay site Restoration Plan (DSRP) in Scotland 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.

However, the Commission notes that fourteen new installations will be constructed to address specific waste management requirements in the course of implementation of the DSRP and that for these installations incomplete data was presented to the Commission. The Commission confirms the necessity to obtain further detailed and comprehensive information, as soon as available, for these installations in order to be able to check if the current radiological impact assessments in normal and accidental conditions are still valid. The Commission further notes that for unplanned releases of radioactive effluents, the General Data include a categorisation procedure of the facilities, based on hazard potential and corresponding radiological consequences, and that only those facilities with the identified potential to cause a significant threat to members of the public (off-site dose exceeding 5 mSv) are examined in detail. While for a complex nuclear site there is merit in introducing a categorisation of the facilities as regards the accident scenarios, the Commission is not satisfied that as a matter of simplification the General Data submitted did not include information on estimated amounts and physico-chemical forms of the radionuclides present in each of the facilities on the site nor on the quantities assumed to be released in the event of the accident considered for each of those facilities.

Official Journal of the EU, No. C101/28 .4.2005 Previous Item Back to Titles Print Item

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