Office for Nuclear Regulation

This website uses non-intrusive anonymous cookies to improve your user experience. You can visit our cookie privacy page for more information, including details on how to opt-out.

Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment for Decommissioning) Regulations (EIADR)

The Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment for Decommissioning) Regulations, 1999, as amended (EIADR) is a legal instrument that requires the environmental impact of decommissioning nuclear power stations, and other nuclear reactors, to be considered in detail before consent for the decommissioning project to commence can be granted. EIADR also applies to projects serving national defence purposes, in particular the decommissioning of reactors in nuclear submarines, except where the Secretary of State is of the opinion that application of these Regulations would have an adverse effect on that purpose.

However, the specific requirements on the decommissioning project depend on whether the project started before or after EIADR entered into force on 19 November 1999. All decommissioning projects starting since 19 November 1999 require consent from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) before the project can begin and then must comply with the conditions of that consent. In a number of cases, consent was granted prior to 2014 when ONR was still part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and therefore the consent documents refer to HSE, rather than ONR.

Decommissioning projects that commenced prior to 19 November 1999 do not need EIADR consent. All decommissioning projects, regardless of when they started, are required to seek a determination from ONR when the project is subject to a change or extension, which may have a significant adverse effect on the environment under Regulation 13 of EIADR.

Following consultation run by the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) between 23 May and 20 June 2018, the 2018 amendment to EIADR came into force in August 2018. These regulations implement the amendments of the EIA Directive and also amends the error in the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 (the TCP Regulations), and in the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017, which put the decommissioning of nuclear power stations and other nuclear reactors within the scope of these regulations, as well as EIADR. ONR has updated its guidance on EIADR to reflect these changes, please see the ‘EIADR Guidance’ section below.

EIADR Processes

Since EIADR entered into force on 19 November 1999, the decommissioning of nuclear power stations and other nuclear reactors within the scope of EIADR may only proceed with consent from ONR.

The process of obtaining consent can begin with the optional request from the licensee for a ‘pre-application opinion’ (PAO) from ONR. The PAO provides advice to the licensee on what issues and environmental aspects ONR considers should be covered in the subsequent application for consent, taking into account the views of consultees.

To obtain consent, the licensee submits to ONR an ‘environmental statement’ which presents a detailed environmental impact assessment for the proposed decommissioning project and any features of the project or measures envisaged to avoid, prevent or reduce and, if possible, offset, any likely significant adverse effects on the environment. This is considered by ONR in extensive consultation with relevant regulatory authorities, such as the appropriate environmental agency and local highway and planning authorities, together with the public and any other interested parties. If the project is considered acceptable ONR grants consent for the decommissioning project. The decision is published in the form of a project assessment report. The consent generally has conditions attached, for instance, requiring regular reports on progress through the ‘environmental management plans’ (EMPs). Once consent is granted the decommissioning project must begin within 5 years of the date the consent is given.

Under Regulation 13, where there is a change or extension to an on-going decommissioning project, the licensee must undertake an internal screening of the proposed changes to determine whether they could potentially cause significant adverse effects on the environment. Where it is judged that the changes may have significant adverse effects on the environment, the licensee applies to ONR for a determination as to whether an environmental impact assessment for that change or extension is required. The change or extension may not be taken forward until the determination is made.

Regulation 13 of EIADR applies to all decommissioning projects regardless of whether they commenced prior to when the regulations came into force (19 November 1999). Conditions of consent require, amongst others, the licensee to prepare an EMP that identifies mitigation measures, describes the implementation and effectiveness of mitigation measures, and describes changes to mitigation measures and reasons for changes in light of experience. EMPs are usually published annually, and the licensee must send a copy of the EMP to ONR and also make it available to the public. The most recent EMPs for each site with EIADR consent are available in the sub-sections below.

EIADR Guidance

ONR has produced guidance on compliance with EIADR, which is intended to be of use to nuclear site licensees and statutory consultation bodies, as well as other organisations and members of the public who have an interest in the environmental impact of decommissioning nuclear power stations and nuclear reactors.

In addition to this guidance, ONR has produced a position statement on the application of EIADR to the decommissioning of off-site structures (e.g. pipelines) to provide further clarity on the scope of the regulations.

Decommissioning sites in scope of EIADR

As a condition of the EIADR consent the site is required to produce an annual Environmental Management Plan (EMP) which provides details on the progress of the decommissioning project and how the impact on the environment of that work is being managed. The latest version of the EMP for each site can be found listed below under the site subheading.

Berkeley

Berkeley Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1962 and ceased generation in 1989. As this was prior to EIADR coming into force, the licensee, British Nuclear Fuel plc (now Magnox Ltd), did not require consent from ONR to commence the decommissioning project.

HSE considered a change to the decommissioning project at Berkeley Nuclear Power Station under Regulation 13 of EIADR to construct a purpose built ILW store for the storage of waste from the site and determined that an Environmental Impact Assessment was not required. HSE has published a report, which describes the main reasons on which the decision is based.

Bradwell

Bradwell Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1962 and ceased generation in 2003. HSE granted consent to the licensee of Bradwell Nuclear Power Station, Magnox Electric Ltd (now Magnox Ltd), to carry out a decommissioning project under EIADR on 5 December 2003. HSE has published a report which describes the reasons and considerations for its decision.

Calder Hall

Calder Hall Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1956 and ceased generation in 2003. HSE granted consent to the licensee of Calder Hall Nuclear Power Station, British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd (now Sellafield Ltd), to carry out a decommissioning project under EIADR on 21 June 2005. HSE has published a report which describes the reasons and considerations for its decision.

Chapelcross

Chapelcross Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1959 and ceased generation in 2005. HSE granted consent to the licensee of Chapelcross Nuclear Power Station, Magnox Electric Ltd (now Magnox Ltd), to carry out a decommissioning project under EIADR on 26 September 2005. HSE has published a report which describes the reasons and considerations for its decision.

Dounreay

Dounreay Site started operating in 1955 and ceased operations in 1994. As this was prior to EIADR coming into force, the licensee, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, did not require consent from HSE to commence the decommissioning project.

HSE considered a change to the decommissioning project at Dounreay site under Regulation 3 of EIADR to construct a purpose built Low Level Radioactive Waste (LLW) repository and determined that an Environmental Impact Assessment was not required. HSE has published a report, which describes the main reasons on which the decision is based:

Dungeness A

Dungeness A Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1965 and ceased generation in 2006. HSE granted consent to the licensee of Dungeness A Nuclear Power Station, Magnox Electric Ltd (now Magnox Ltd), to carry out a decommissioning project under EIADR on 13 July 2006. HSE has published a report which describes the reasons and considerations for its decision.

Harwell

Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment, now Harwell Site, started operating in 1946 and ceased operations in 1990. As this was prior to EIADR coming into force, the licensee, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) (now Magnox Ltd), did not require consent from ONR to commence the decommissioning project.

Hinkley Point A

Hinkley Point A Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1965 and ceased generation in 2003. HSE granted consent to the licensee of Hinkley Point A Nuclear Power Station, Magnox Electric Ltd (now Magnox Ltd), to carry out a decommissioning project under EIADR on 10 July 2003. HSE has published a report which describes the reasons and considerations for its decision.

Hunterston A

Hunterston A Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1964 and ceased generation in 1990. As this was prior to EIADR coming into force, the licensee, Magnox Electric plc (now Magnox Ltd), did not require consent from ONR to commence the decommissioning project.

Imperial College

Imperial College London's research reactor, known as CONSORT, began operating in 1965 and ceased commercial operations in March 2008.ONR granted consent to the licensee of the CONSORT reactor, Imperial College, to carry out a decommissioning project under EIADR on 29 July 2015. ONR has published a report which describes the reasons and considerations for ONR's decision.

Oldbury

Oldbury Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1976 and ceased generation in 2012. HSE granted consent to the licensee of Oldbury Nuclear Power Station, Magnox Electric Ltd (now Magnox Ltd), to carry out a decommissioning project under EIADR on 18 February 2008. HSE has published a report which describes the reasons and considerations for its decision.

Sizewell A

Sizewell A Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1966 and ceased generation in 2006. HSE granted consent to the licensee of Sizewell A Nuclear Power Station, Magnox Electric Ltd (now Magnox Ltd), to carry out a decommissioning project under EIADR on 26 May 2006. HSE has published a report which describes the reasons and considerations for its decision.

Submarine dismantling project

The Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) is a project to decommission 7 of the UK’s nuclear powered submarines. ONR granted consent to the licensee for the SDP, Rosyth Royal Dockyard Limited, to carry out the decommissioning of the 7 nuclear submarines currently at Rosyth Royal Dockyard in October 2014. ONR has published a report which describes the reasons and considerations for its decision.

Trawsfynydd

Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1965 and ceased generation in 1991. As this was prior to EIADR coming into force, the licensee, British Nuclear Fuel plc (now Magnox Ltd), did not require consent from ONR to commence the decommissioning project.

Windscale piles

The Windscale Piles began operation in 1950 as the site of the UK’s plutonium production programme and ceased operation in 1957. As this was prior to EIADR coming into force, the licensee, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) (now Sellafield Ltd), did not require consent from ONR to commence the decommissioning project.

HSE considered a change to the decommissioning project for the Windscale Piles under Regulation 13 of EIADR for the acceleration of the project which would speed up some operational aspects of the project and remove the Care and Maintenance period and determined that an Environmental Impact Assessment was not required. HSE has published a report, which describes the main reasons on which the decision is based.

Winfrith

The Winfrith Reactor Research and Development Site, now Winfrith Site, started operating in 1957 and ceased operations in 1995. As this was prior to EIADR coming into force, the licensee, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) (now Magnox Ltd), did not require consent from ONR to commence the decommissioning project.

Wylfa

Wylfa Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1971 and ceased generation in 2015. ONR granted consent to the licensee of Wylfa Nuclear Power Station, Magnox Ltd, to carry out a decommissioning project under EIADR on 25 September 2013. ONR has published a report which describes the reasons and considerations for its decision.

Wylfa previously obtained consent under EIADR in March 2009, but due to extensions to power generation, decommissioning was due to start after the 5 year period for which this consent applied and hence applied for consent again in 2013.