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Dounreay submits new proposal for lower discharges

December 22, 2009

Radioactive waste from decommissioning needs careful disposal

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd has presented estimates of how much radioactivity it expects to dispose of during the remainder of the site clean-up and closure programme.

The forecast levels of discharge until 2025 continue the downward trend evident in recent years since the end of reactor operations and fuel reprocessing.

All establishments in Scotland must obtain an authorisation from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to dispose of radioactive waste to sea, air or land.

Dounreay’s existing authorisation dates from the 1990s and pre-dates the transition from operations to decommissioning.

Many of the limits set by SEPA have not changed since then but conditions imposed a few years ago by SEPA have helped to keep actual levels of discharge to a fraction of the limits.

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd has now submitted a new application to SEPA.

This sets out the likely levels of radioactive discharges arising from the continuing work to clean out and dismantle the fast reactor experiment.

Tony Wratten, director of assurance at Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, said they expected the levels to fluctuate as different parts of the site were decommissioned but the overall trend is firmly downwards.

Speaking to members of Dounreay Stakeholder Group, he said there was a legal obligation on DSRL to discharge only the minimum needed for effective decommissioning.

The application will be the subject of public consultation by SEPA.

Last month, regulators published their annual assessment of the impact of radioactive discharges on food and the environment. They concluded the impact of Dounreay’s discharges was negligible.

Click here to view the presentation given to members of the stakeholder group.
 

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