The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has announced that there is no longer a requirement for an off-site emergency planning area in respect of the Harwell nuclear licensed site.
The Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 (REPPIR) requires the operator, in this case Magnox Ltd., to assess all of the hazards on the Harwell 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.
ONR has concluded that there has been a significant reduction in the radiological hazard at the site following the shutdown of the reactors many years ago, subsequent decommissioning activity and the treatment and/or removal of radioactive waste from the site. Consequently there is no longer a reasonably foreseeable radiation emergency that could occur at the Harwell site in Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) 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 have duties under the Civil Contingencies Act
- The operator has duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act and specific duties relating to emergency arrangements and contingency planning under nuclear site licence conditions, and the Ionising Radiations Regulations
Homepage image credit Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.