The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has announced that the Sizewell A nuclear licensed site is no longer required to have an off-site emergency planning area.
The Sizewell A and B sites currently have an off-site emergency planning area that was determined by ONR in 2014. This is an area where detailed emergency plans are put into place by Suffolk County Council as required by the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001, (REPPIR) this area is referred to in their plan as the Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ).
This assessment does not affect the status of the Sizewell area/DEPZ which is dominated the potential for a reasonably foreseeable radiation emergency arising from the EDF operated Sizewell B Power Station. This will remain as the area specified by ONR in 2014 until ONR determines otherwise.
REPPIR requires the operator, in this case Magnox Ltd., to assess all of the hazards on the Sizewell 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/DEPZ around the site where the local authority is required to produce an off-site emergency plan.
ONR has concluded that due to the substantial reduction in both the hazard and risk of a radiation emergency at the site due to the defueled status of the reactors and with all spent fuel removed from the site, that there is no longer a reasonably foreseeable radiation emergency that could occur at Sizewell A in Suffolk.
Mike Finnerty, ONR Director of the Cross ONR Programme, said: “The announcement that the Sizewell A nuclear site no longer requires a REPPIR off-site emergency planning area is a very positive development. It means that ONR is satisfied that members of the public are no longer at risk from a reasonably foreseeable radiation emergency from the Sizewell A site.”
Suffolk County 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.
Homepage image credit Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.