The Environment Agency is opening a public consultation on environmental permit changes at Sellafield, in preparation for the end of fuel reprocessing at the site.
As the leading organisation working to protect the environment, the Environment Agency regulate discharges and radioactive waste disposals from Sellafield. The Environment Agency sets stringent discharge limits in Sellafield Ltd.’s environmental 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.
Currently, the Sellafield site reprocesses radioactive fuel in its THORP and Magnox reprocessing plants. However, fuel reprocessing will be coming to an end at THORP in November 2018 and Magnox in 2020. This will mean that the site will see a significant reduction in discharges to the environment.
Given these reductions, the company will need to have new environmental permits which include the revised, lower discharge levels. The new permits will also need to reflect the sites changing focus from reprocessing to decommissioning. This is the most significant review of Sellafield Ltd.’s permits since the early 2000s.
The permits in question are the Radioactive Substances Activities (RSA) permit and the Installations permit, which allow the site to operate facilities, discharge liquids and gases to the environment and disposals of solid waste. Due to the different types of information and data involved in the permit applications, the RSA and Installations permits will be submitted at different times. The first permit to have been submitted is the Radioactive Substances Activities permit.
Rob Allott Nuclear Regulation Manager for the Environment Agency said: “The Environment Agency has been working with Sellafield Ltd to carry out a major review of 2 of its environmental permits in readiness for the end of fuel reprocessing at the Sellafield site.
“Changes to the Radioactive Substances Activities (RSA) permit have been submitted by the company, and our consultation is now open. 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 decision making.”
The consultation will last for 8 weeks. Once the consultation closes, the Environment Agency will review all comments received and then publish a draft decision.
A further 8 week consultation on the draft decision will follow, which will give people a further opportunity to let us have any more information.
To access the consultation, please visit https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/cumbria-and-lancashire/sellafield-rsa-major-permit-review and also look out for information posters in local libraries, leisure centres and supermarkets.