The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has announced that the Hunterston A nuclear licensed site is no longer required to have a local authority off-site emergency planning area.
The Hunterston A and B sites currently have an off-site emergency planning area of 2.4 km around them, as defined by the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 (REPPIR).
REPPIR requires the operator, in this case Magnox Ltd., to assess all of the hazards on the Hunterston A site and submit a report of this assessment to ONR. This report, along with any additional information ONR may request, is used to determine the need for, and where appropriate the extent of, the area around the site where the local authority is required to produce an off-site emergency plan.
This assessment does not affect the status of the REPPIR existing off-site emergency planning area for Hunterston B, which reflects the residual potential for a reasonably foreseeable radiation emergency from the EDF operated site. This will remain as a circle with a radial distance of 2.4 km, until ONR determines otherwise.
ONR has concluded that due to the substantial reduction in both the hazard and risk of a radiation emergency at the site and with all spent fuel removed from the site, that there is no longer a reasonably foreseeable radiation emergency that could occur at Hunterston A in Ayrshire.
Mike Finnerty, Director of the Cross-ONR Programme, said: “The announcement that the Hunterston A nuclear site no longer requires a REPPIR off-site emergency planning area is a very positive and significant development. ONR’s rigorous assessment of the current hazards has concluded that there is no longer the risk of a reasonably foreseeable radiation emergency occurring at the site. Therefore, for the first time since the station began operating in 1964, an off-site public protection emergency plan is no longer required for this site.”
North Ayrshire Council and Magnox Ltd. still have other general legal duties to protect the public and have general emergency planning arrangements in place for this site. These include local authority, emergency services’ and health bodies’ duties under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, general duties on the operator under the Health and Safety at Work Act, and more specific duties on the operator relating to emergency arrangements and contingency planning under nuclear site licence conditions, and the Ionising Radiations Regulations.
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