More contaminated soil and rubble will remain at the sites of Britain’s old nuclear power plants rather than going to a dedicated dump, under government-backed proposals. But officials said that the sites would not be left in a hazardous state because international radiological standards would still be upheld. They argued the changes would mean former nuclear sites could be cleaned up more quickly, less waste would need to be moved around the country, and decommissioning would be cheaper than under today’s regime. Experts were split over the proposals. Some said that it showed the UK did not know what to do with its nuclear waste, but others welcomed it as a way of saving money. The government said a change to the Nuclear Installations Act 1965, outlined in a discussion paper last week, is needed now because several sites will reach the final stage of cleanup in the early 2020s, such as Winfrith in Dorset and Dounreay in Caithness. Under the proposed changes, former sites would no longer be considered “nuclear” at the end of their cleanup, and therefore no longer the responsibility of the ONR. Regulation would fall instead to the Health and Safety Executive and environment agencies. “What the government is suggesting is, they’re turning off the liability but they’re not turning off the risk or hazard,” said John Large, a nuclear consultant who has advised the UK government on nuclear issues.
Guardian 10th Nov 2016 read more »