Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Quinquennial reviews

Each nuclear licensee is expected to produce and maintain a decommissioning strategy for the site(s) it is responsible for. Government policy outlined in the white paper Review of Radioactive Waste Management Policy: Final conclusions (CM2919) obligated ONR to review each strategy in consultation with the relevant environment agency at least every five years. ONR's adopted approach was outlined in Annex 7 of its Guidance to inspectors on decommissioning on licensed sites.

Following creation of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) under the terms of the Energy Act 2004 , paragraphs 120-131 of Cm2919 were replaced with a new policy statement for QQRs. The new policy supported continuance of QQRs except where equivalent arrangements were made (e.g. to suit the requirements of the NDA.

QQRs for the NDA

The legislation is subject to a process of consultation and Ministerial approval. Operators of the sites owned by the NDA are expected to produce and maintain plans for their sites, consistent with the overall strategy of the NDA and subject to the NDA's approval.

In April 2005, the NDA took ownership of the nuclear licensed sites that were previously owned by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL). Regulatory oversight of the decommissioning strategies for these sites has since been secured through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ONR and NDA, formal consultations on the NDA's decommissioning strategy and regulatory involvement in NDA led annual reviews at each licensed site.

The NDA's decommissioning strategy was published in April 2006 and was revised in April 2011.

In order to deliver on its responsibilities in Cm2919, ONR previously published reviews of the decommissioning strategies of Magnox Electric and the UKAEA.

QQRs for British Energy

British Energy experienced serious financial difficulties in 2002. The recovery plan involved a series of agreements with the UK government that changed British Energy's arrangements for decommissioning and gave NDA responsibility to scrutinise British Energy's decommissioning plans and costs. Regulatory oversight has been maintained through a MoU between the ONR and the NDA, consultations with the NDA and regulatory participation in NDA-led reviews of British Energy's plans. These arrangements remained in place following EDF's takeover of British Energy in 2009.

In order to deliver on its responsibilities in Cm2919, ONR previously published a review of the decommissioning strategy of British Energy.

The future management of used Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactor fuel owned by British Energy, stored at Sellafield but not contracted for reprocessing is part of NDA's developing strategy for third party liabilities.

QQRs for the MoD's nuclear programme

In order to deliver on its responsibilities in Cm2919, HSE's Nuclear Directorate has published reviews of the decommissioning strategies of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), Devonport Royal Dockyard Limited (DRDL), British Aerospace (BAE) Systems Marine Limited, Rosyth Royal Dockyard Limited (RRDL) and Rolls Royce Marine Power Operations Limited (RRMPOL).

The future management of used submarine fuel that is presently stored at Sellafield under contract to the MoD is part of NDA's developing strategy for third party liabilities.

QQRs for other licensees