Office for Nuclear Regulation

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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 work to go ahead is given. EIADR implements in Great Britain the requirements of the EU Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) directive (85/337/EEC, as amended) in relation to the decommissioning of these nuclear facilities. In addition, EIADR also applies to projects serving national defence purposes, in particular the decommissioning of reactors in nuclear submarines.

EIADR applies to all projects decommissioning nuclear power stations and other nuclear reactors. However, the specific requirements on the decommissioning project depend on whether the project started before or after EIADR entered into force in 1999. In general terms, all decommissioning projects starting since 1999 require a consent from HSE before the project can begin (the process of obtaining consent is described below) and then must comply with the conditions of that consent. Those existing decommissioning projects that commenced prior to 1999 do not need EIADR consent but are required to seek a determination from HSE when the project is subject to a change or extension, which may have a significant adverse effect on the environment (Regulation 13 determination procedure described below)

EIADR Processes

Since EIADR entered into force in 1999 the decommissioning of nuclear power stations and other nuclear reactors within the scope of EIADR may only proceed with consent from HSE.

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

To obtain consent the licensee submits to HSE an Environmental Statement which presents a detailed environmental impact assessment for the proposed decommissioning project and the mitigation measures to be used to avoid or minimise any significant adverse impacts on the environment. This is considered by HSE 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 HSE grants consent for the decommissioning project. The decision is published in the form of a decision 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.

Regulation 13 of EIADR applies to all decommissioning projects that began after the regulations came into force (19 November 1999) and to existing decommissioning projects that commenced prior to 19 November 1999 that are subject to a change or extension, which may have significant adverse effects on the environment. In cases where a project is subject to such a change, the licensee must apply to ONR for a determination as to whether an environmental impact assessment is required.

Conditions of consent require, amongst others, the licensee to prepare and implement an environmental management plan (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 HSE and also make it available to the public. The availability of EMPs for each site is indicated below in the appropriate section.

Where there is a change or extension to an on-going decommissioning project that may cause a significant and adverse impact on the environment the licensee must apply to HSE 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. This is the so-called regulation 13 procedure.

All the documentation involved in the EIADR process is publically available and is readily available from a number of sources. Documents can be obtained from HSE from this website, the HSE knowledge centre (Bootle) or the HSE office local to the site. Additionally most documents should be available from the site directly, or from local libraries (as listed under the appropriate sites below). Specific enquiries regarding EIADR can be sent through to EIA.team@onr.gov.uk

EIADR Guidance

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

In 2007, HSE commissioned Environmental consultancy Atkins to develop tools to assist in the review of the quality of environmental statements submitted under EIADR.  The tools are used by ONR to reach an initial view on the adequacy of the information contained in the environmental statement, and help facilitate proportionality, consistency and transparency regarding the standards that ONR require.  These tools can also be used to assist those who produce environmental statements under these regulations.

To supplement the review tools, technical guidance notes are available which provide examples of impacts that can arise from nuclear reactor decommissioning projects.

EIADR by site

Berkeley

Berkeley Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1962 and ceased generation in 1989 following the decision to decommission.

The Licensee of Berkeley Nuclear Power Station British Nuclear Fuel plc, (now Magnox Ltd), did not require consent from HSE to commence decommissioning (as it was before the regulations came into force in 1999) but, it is still within scope of Regulation 13 of EIADR.

Regulation 13

HSE made a decision under regulation 13 of EIADR that an Environmental Impact Assessment is not required under those regulations for the change to the decommissioning project at Berkeley Nuclear Power Station. 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 following the decision to decommission.

HSE granted consent to the licensee of Bradwell A 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 HSE's decision here

The decision on the application to carry out a decommissioning project at Bradwell Power Station under the Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment for Decommissioning) Regulations 1999

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.

Calder Hall

Calderhall Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1956 and ceased generation in 2003 following the decision to decommission.

HSE granted consent to the licensee of Calderhall 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 HSE's decision.

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.

Chapelcross

Chapelcross Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1959 and ceased generation in 2005 following the decision to decommission.

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 HSE's decision.

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.

Dounreay

Dounreay Nuclear Power Station operated as the UK's centre for fast reactor research and development from 1955 until 1994 following the decision to decommission.

The Licensee of Dounreay Nuclear Power Station Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (now Babcock Dounreay Partnership), did not require consent from HSE to commence decommissioning (as it was before the regulations came into force in 1999) but it is still within scope of Regulation 13 of EIADR.

Regulation 13

HSE made a determination that an Environmental Impact Assessment was not required under those regulations further to that which was produced for the Town and Country Planning submission for the change to the decommissioning project at Dounreay Nuclear Licensed Site. HSE has published a report, describes the main reasons on which the decision is based here:

Dungeness A

Dungeness A Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1965 and ceased generation in 2006 following the decision to decommission.

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 HSE's decision.

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.

Harwell

Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment was created in 1946 and ceased generation in 1990 following the decision to decommission.

The Licensee of Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), (now Research Sites Restoration Ltd (RSRL), did not require consent from HSE to commence decommissioning (as it was before the regulations came into force in 1999) but it is still within scope of Regulation 13 of EIADR.

Hinkley Point A

Hinkley Point A Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1965 and ceased generation in 2003 following the decision to decommission.

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 HSE's decision.

The decision on the application to carry out a decommissioning project at Hinkley Point A Power Station under the Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment for Decommissioning) Regulations 1999

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.

Hunterston A

Hunterson A Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1964 and ceased generation in 1990 following the decision to decommission.

The Licensee of Hunterson A Nuclear Power Station, Magnox Electric PLC, (now Magnox Ltd), did not require consent from HSE to commence decommissioning (as it was before the regulations came into force in 1999) but, it is still within scope of Regulation 13 of EIADR.

The licensee's pre-application opinion report together with the consultees comments can be viewed at HSE's knowledge centre at Redgrave Court, Ascot Durning Library,Sunninghill library and Windsor library.

Imperial College

Imperial College London's research reactor, known as CONSORT, began safe operation in 1965 and ceased commercial operations in March 2008.

As the Licensee of the nuclear reactor, Imperial College applied to ONR for consent to decommission under EIADR in January 2015. ONR is currently conducting a consultation exercise in accordance with the Regulations from 28 January to 28 April 2015.

Oldbury

Oldbury Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1976 and ceased generation in 2012 following the decision to decommission.

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 HSE's decision.

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.

Sizewell A

Sizewell A Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1966 and ceased generation in 2006 following the decision to decommission.

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 HSE's decision.

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.

Submarine dismantling project

The submarine dismantling project (SDP) is a Ministry of Defence (MoD) project to deliver a safe, secure and environmentally responsible solution for dismantling 27 of the UK's decommissioned and defueled nuclear powered submarines including past and current classes.

ONR grants decommissioning consent for seven nuclear submarines at Rosyth Royal Naval Dockyard

Following an application by the licensee, Rosyth Royal Naval Dockyard Limited, ONR has now granted consent for a project to decommission seven nuclear submarines Rosyth Royal Dockyard in Dunfermline.

ONR's decision follows extensive consultation and takes into account factors such as the adequacy of information provided by Rosyth Royal Naval Dockyard Limited, the conclusion that environmental benefits will far outweigh any detriments and the prediction there will be no significant effects on other countries.

ONR has published a report describing the reasons and considerations behind its decision, the conditions attached to the consent and the measures Rosyth Royal Naval Dockyard Limited will take to control any significant environmental effects. It also provides information on the legal framework for nuclear safety, in particular the regulations under which the consent was granted.

Trawsfynydd

Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station started generating electricity in 1965 and ceased generation in 1991 following the decision to decommission.

The Licensee of Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station British Nuclear Fuel plc, (now Magnox Ltd), did not require consent from HSE to commence decommissioning (as it was before the regulations came into force in 1999) but, it is still within scope of Regulation 13 of EIADR.

Windscale piles

Windscale Piles was created in 1950 as the site of the UK's plutonium production program and ceased generation in 1957 following fire damage at the site.

The Licensee of Windscale Piles, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) , (now Sellafield Ltd ), did not require consent from HSE to commence decommissioning (as it was before the regulations came into force in 1999) but, it is still within scope of Regulation 13 of EIADR.

Regulation 13

The then licensee of the Windscale Nuclear Licensed Site, UKAEA , requested a determination under regulation 13 of EIADR in May 2007 for the change to the Windscale Piles decommissioning project. The change is an acceleration to the project which will speed up some operational aspects and remove the care and maintenance period.

HSE made a decision under regulation 13 of EIADR that an Environmental Impact Assessment is not required under those regulations for the change to the decommissioning project at Windscale piles. HSE published a report, which describes the main reasons on which the decision was based

Winfrith

Winfrith Reactor Research and Development Site was created in 1957 was operational until 1995.

The Licensee of Winfrith Reactor Research and Development Site, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), (now Research Sites Restoration Ltd (RSRL)), did not require consent from HSE to commence decommissioning (as it was before the regulations came into force in 1999) but, it is still within scope of Regulation 13 of EIADR.

Wylfa

ONR grants decommissioning consent at Wylfa nuclear power station

Following an application by the licensee, Magnox Limited, ONR has now granted consent for a project to decommission Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey.

ONR's decision follows extensive consultation and takes into account factors such as the adequacy of information provided by Magnox Ltd, the conclusion that environmental benefits will far outweigh any detriments and the prediction there will be no significant effects on other countries.

ONR has published a report describing the reasons and considerations behind its decision, the conditions attached to the consent and the measures Magnox Limited will take to control any significant environmental effects. It also provides information on the legal framework for nuclear safety, in particular the regulations under which the consent was granted.

Notes to editors

1. European Council Directive 85/337/EEC, as amended by Directives 97/11/EC and 2003/35/EC, sets out a framework for assessing the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment and on public participation. For decommissioning nuclear reactor projects, the Directive is implemented in Great Britain by the Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment for Decommissioning) Regulations 1999 , as amended by the Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment for Decommissioning) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 .

2. The aim of the regulations is to involve the public, through consultation, in considering the potential environmental impact of decommissioning projects, and to make the decision-making process on granting consent open and transparent. They require a licensee to undertake an environmental impact assessment, prepare an environmental statement (ES) summarising the environmental effects of the project, and apply to ONR for consent to carry out a decommissioning project. There is an optional stage where the licensee may request from ONR an opinion on what the environmental statement should contain (called a pre-application opinion; PAO).

3. Wylfa obtained a PAO in 2007 and EIADR consent to decommission in March 2009. The consent provided for the decommissioning project to start within 5 years of this date. However, due to extended generation Wylfa is not expected to shut-down completely and begin decommissioning until at least September 2014. By this time, the current consent will have expired, requiring Wylfa to obtain a new consent.

4. Wylfa submitted a 'Desktop review' scoping report in November 2012 in order to obtain a PAO from ONR for their new application for consent. The document laid out the proposed format and content for their application for consent, to build upon the previous ES and update it for the subsequent 5 years. During a 30 day consultation period, involving statutory consultees (including Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Isle of Anglesey County Council (IoACC)), no objections to this approach were raised.

5. ONR granted consent to carry out decommissioning at Wylfa on 25 September 2013. The conditions attached to the Consent relate to mitigation measures to prevent, reduce and, if possible, offset adverse environmental effects of the project. In brief, Magnox Limited must prepare an annual environmental management plan (EMP) that identifies mitigation measures, reports on their implementation, effectiveness, progress of the decommissioning work and reports on changes to such measures in light of experience. A copy of the EMP and its subsequent revisions must be sent by the licensee to ONR and be made available to the public.

6. The ONR EIADR team will maintain regulatory oversight of the Wylfa decommissioning project through a variety of means including review of the annual EMPs, regular liaison with the site and periodic audits of progress. ONR must be notified by the licensee in advance of any significant change to a mitigation measure to control any adverse effects on the environment or if there are any changes to the project that may have a significant and adverse effect on the environment. Additionally, the EIADR team aim to attend future Energy Island Forum meetings whenever possible, where developers of major energy developments on Anglesey, which could interact with the Wylfa decommissioning project, meet to share relevant information.

7. ONR has also granted consent for decommissioning under the EIADR regulations for Bradwell, Calder hall, Chapelcross, Dungeness A, Hinkley Point A, Oldbury, and Sizewell A nuclear power stations.