Have your say on Sellafield permit changes

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07 October 2019

As the leading organisation working to protect the environment, the Environment Agency regulates discharges and radioactive waste disposals from Sellafield. The Environment Agency sets stringent discharge limits in Sellafield Ltd’s permits as well as also making sure the company minimises discharges and their impacts on people and the environment by using the best available techniques.

The Sellafield site has historically reprocessed nuclear fuel in its THORP and Magnox reprocessing plants. However, fuel reprocessing came to an end at THORP in November 2018 and Magnox reprocessing is planned to end in 2020. This will mean that the site will see a significant reduction in radioactive discharges to the environment.

Sellafield Ltd has a Radioactive Substances Activities (RSA) permit which allows the site to operate facilities, discharge liquids and gases to the environment and dispose of solid waste. Given the forecast reductions in radioactive discharges, the company will need to have a new RSA permit which includes the revised, lower discharge levels. The new permit will also need to reflect the site’s changing focus from reprocessing to decommissioning. This is the most significant review of the Sellafield Ltd RSA permit since the early 2000s.

Sellafield Ltd submitted an RSA permit variation application in October 2018 and we ran a consultation on this application from 26 October 2018 to 21 December 2018. We have now reached a draft decision and are consulting on this.

Steve Hardy, Nuclear Regulation Manager for the Environment Agency said:

“The Environment Agency has been working with Sellafield Ltd to carry out a major review of its Radioactive Substances Activities (RSA) permit in readiness for the end of nuclear fuel reprocessing at the Sellafield site.

We have now reached our draft decision on Sellafield Ltd’s application to vary its RSA permit, having incorporated comments received from the first consultation.

Once again we are encouraging people to have their say, learn more about the proposed changes and provide us with any information that they think is relevant to our decision.”

The consultation will last for 8 weeks (07 October 2019 until 01 December 2019). Once the consultation closes, the Environment Agency will review all comments received before issuing the permit variation to Sellafield Ltd.

To access the consultation, please visit https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/cumbria-and-lancashire/sellafield-radioactive-substances-activities-rsa-p

Look out for information posters in local libraries, leisure centres and supermarkets.

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