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PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN OPTIONS FOR LOW LEVEL WASTE
AT DOUNREAY 17 September 03
Options for the long-term management of solid low level radioactive waste from the decommissioning of Dounreay are the subject of a public consultation announced today by the UK Atomic Energy Authority.
Approximately 100,000 cubic
metres of solid low level waste (LLW) is expected to arise during the
50-60 year life of the Dounreay Site Restoration Plan. The short list of
options consists of:
UKAEA is also seeking the views
of the public about the options for the long-term management of 30,000
cubic metres of historical LLW contained in the existing authorised
disposal facility at
A consultation document that summarises the issues is being issued today to more than 800 stakeholders who have registered an interest in the Dounreay Site Restoration Plan. The document is also available on the UKAEA website.
A preliminary assessment of the options can also be found on the website, alongside independent reports of three panels of stakeholders who weighed up the options. The separate panels consisted of people who work at Dounreay, external stakeholders from as far afield as Shetland and Cumbria, and a group of high school students from Caithness and Sutherland.
The closing date for comments on the options is 25 November 2003.
UKAEA Dounreay director Peter Welsh said: "LLW is by far the largest volume of radioactive waste we must deal with in dismantling the site, though it is in the lowest category of radioactivity. Identifying and implementing the best practicable environmental option for managing LLW is fundamental to delivering the Dounreay Site Restoration Plan."
LLW project manager David Broughton said: "Managing low level waste from the decommissioning of the site is one of the major projects in the Dounreay Site Restoration Plan, so it is important that the views of stakeholders are an integral part of the decision-making process. The stakeholder panels were the first step in gathering views and I look forward to learning more of the views of other stakeholders during this next, wider phase of public participation."
UKAEA's public participation policy was launched in January 2001. Anyone can register an interest as a stakeholder in the site restoration plan via the UKAEA website. They receive automatically regular informationbulletins and consultation material. A separate consultation exercise is also currently taking place about the options for disposal of active solvents and oils at Dounreay.
Low level waste typically arises
from two major activities at Dounreay. Used protective clothing,
replacement parts and laboratory equipment arises continuously from waste
management and decommissioning operations. Rubble, concrete, scrap
and steel arise from the demolition of redundant
Current arisings of LLW at Dounreay are held in temporary store at the site. Current national policy is to dispose of LLW, so regulators have instructed UKAEA to use the national disposal facility at Drigg in Cumbria to dispose of some of this waste. An application has been lodged by UKAEA with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. This is an interim measure pending the outcome of the BPEO process for the long-term management of LLW.
A preliminary assessment of the options and the independent reports of the stakeholder panels can be viewed at www.ukaea.org.uk/dounreay/dsrpnews.htm.