Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Request for a Variation to the Oldbury Nuclear Site Licence No. 57A under Section 3.6 of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 (as amended)

Licence instrument no. N/A

Permission requested

The licensee, Magnox Limited (formed after the recent amalgamation of Magnox North and Magnox South), has applied under Section 3(6) of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 (as amended) to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for a variation to the nuclear site licence at Oldbury (Site Licence Number 57A), to exclude an area of land from the nuclear licensed site (the application area).

The area concerned comprises the Engineering Waste, Strategy and Technical (EWST) facility, previously known as the Oldbury Technical Centre (OTC), the Oldbury Conference Centre (OCC) previously known as the Oldbury Information Centre, the roads and car parks serving both these buildings and the main power station, Silt Lagoon 2 and other areas of land (approximately 35 hectares in total) surrounding the aforementioned features. The application area has never been used for nuclear operations and is no longer required to form part of the nuclear licensed site.

Background

The decision for seeking delicensing of the application area rests with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as owners of the freehold of the Oldbury nuclear licensed site.

The reason for seeking delicensing of the application area is for the NDA, as owner of the freehold of the Oldbury nuclear licensed site to gain socio-economic benefits from future redevelopment of the land. Magnox Limited has identified that the land is no longer needed for any licensable activity, the application area no longer needs to form part of the existing nuclear licensed site.

Under Section 3(6) of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 (as amended), the HSE can agree to the exclusion of part of a site, provided that it is satisfied that there is no danger from ionising radiation arising from anything remaining on that part of the site. Similarly, under Section 5(3)(a) of the Act, provided that the HSE is content that there has ceased to be any danger from ionising radiations on that part of the site, the licensees period of responsibility under the Act may be ended.

This process is referred to as delicensing and in support of the licensees proposal, a nuclear safety case to support exclusion of the land from the requirements of the licence has been prepared and presented by the licensee.

Assessment and inspection work carried out by Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) in consideration of this request

As part of its assessment, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), an agency of the HSE, has assessed the licensees safety case and supporting documentation. Specialist geotechnical advice has been obtained and ONR has commissioned the Health Protection Agency to carry out an independent survey of the application area.

The Environment Agency has also been consulted on the proposal. The implications for site security, emergency arrangements and marking of the site boundary arising from the delicensing application were also considered.

Matters arising from ONR's work

The sampling methodology adopted by the licensee is considered to be appropriate. As such, very few concerns were identified during assessment of the safety case which required resolution by the licensee. However, the licensee did provide clarification on migration rates of radionuclides in soil and groundwater and on the frequency of borehole sampling. All ONR's queries were satisfactorily answered.

A conservative evaluation of the resultant data undertaken by the licensee, concluded that the dose was below the 10 microsieverts per annum threshold (i.e. 10E-6 risk of death per year) and that no danger from the application area has been adequately demonstrated.

Conclusions

ONR considers Magnox Limited to have undertaken a detailed and comprehensive survey which has met the aim of demonstrating that there are no elevated levels of radiation due to licensees activities within the application area and as such, ONR concludes that the site is free from any contamination of regulatory interest.

ONR concludes that the safety case demonstrates that the risk to members of the public arising from radionuclide activity within the application area meets the HSE published guidance for the delicensing of nuclear sites.

The Environment Agency has confirmed that delicensing the application area is compatible with environmental protection principles and that the proposed delicensing will not prejudice any legal process under the Environmental Permitting Regulations or other environmental legislation.

All other matters relating to the delicensing proposal, (i.e. Site Security, Emergency Arrangements and Shared Services between the application area and the remaining nuclear licensed site have been satisfactorily addressed.

Recommendations

Based upon assessment of the safety case and supporting evidence ONR has concluded that, with respect to the application area, the criteria for no danger as defined in the HSE policy statement has been satisfied. On this basis, it was recommended that a variation to Licence 57A should be granted to exclude the application area and to end the licensees period of responsibility for that area of land.

N.B. The technical paper supporting this licence variation, entitled Delicensingof apart of the Oldbury Power Station Nuclear LicensedSiteis available to read under the Reports content section of this site.