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Fifty years Radioactive Substances Legislation – Time for Modernisation. Steve Chandler (DECC). October 2009. BEGINNINGS - 1. Radioactive Substances Act 1948 Atomic Energy Authority Act 1954 Nuclear Installations (Licensing and Insurance Act) 1959. BEGINNINGS - 2.

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fifty years radioactive substances legislation time for modernisation

Fifty years Radioactive Substances Legislation – Time for Modernisation

Steve Chandler (DECC)

October 2009

beginnings 1
  • Radioactive Substances Act 1948
  • Atomic Energy Authority Act 1954
  • Nuclear Installations (Licensing and Insurance Act) 1959
beginnings 2
  • Government policy paper published in 1959: “The Control of Radioactive Wastes” (Cmnd. 884)
  • Recommended new legislation to control radioactive wastes from all sources – led to Radioactive Substances Act 1960
  • Recommended exemption for minor uses and discharges – led to the 18 Exemption Orders
  • Recommended control by a central authority
  • Recommended removal of radioactive content of wastes from the scope of any other powers
  • Recommended a National Disposal Service
current legislative framework
Current legislative framework
  • Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA93), superseding RSA 60, incorporates radioactive waste provisions within legislation
  • Radioactive material:
    • substances where activity of U, Th (and decay products) > certain levels (Schedule 1) , or
    • substances that contain any radioactivity not produced by natural process
  • Radioactive waste:
    • waste which was radioactive material, or
    • waste which has been contaminated by radioactive material/waste.
  • Keeping & use of radioactive material is registered
  • Accumulation & disposal of radioactive waste is authorised
  • Additional exemption orders (EOs) exempt (sometimes conditionally) relatively low risk activities/practices as well as de-regulating certain industries
  • EOs contain range of levels & conditions for exemption related to the needs of industry sectors than to any consistent radiological standard
  • Piece-meal approach to exemption
  • Certain conditions (e.g. record keeping, notifying the regulator, etc.) not consistent between EOs
  • Language & units in need of modernisation to make them easier to understand
  • Compliance with EU legislation not simple to demonstrate
and now
And now…
  • Two mechanisms for legislative change
    • Review of exclusions and exemptions from RSA93
    • Incorporation of RSA 93 in the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales only)
programme for change to framework
Programme for change to framework
  • Through stakeholder engagement
    • Programme Board
    • Workshops
    • Expert/working groups
    • Formal/informal consultation
  • Phase I – initial stakeholder views gathering
  • Phase II – development of architecture
  • Phase III – detailed proposal development formal public consultation closed; reviewing responses and any other considerations /knowledge gained over last few months.
proposal for exemption order review
Proposal for Exemption Order Review
  • Key features of the proposed framework will be:
    • Scope of Act & exemption provisions are taken as one package
    • Simplification of extant EOs
    • Common definitions & conditions for all exemptions provisions, so far as possible
      • Compatibility with Euratom BSS & possible future changes
      • Use of numerical values based on internationally-accepted standards, derived from BSS and other Euratom documents
    • Relegation of as much detail as possible to supporting guidance
implementation of eo review
Implementation of EO Review
  • RSA93 amended and 18 EOs revoked and replaced by one
  • Migration for England and Wales into the Environmental Permitting Regime, with RSA93 revoked.
  • Consistency across UK:
    • Scope
    • Basic definitions
    • Crown Exemptions
    • Flexible determination time for nuclear permits
    • Powers to dispose of radioactive waste and orphan sources
    • Duty to display permits
environmental permitting regime
Environmental Permitting Regime
  • Common EPR framework changes – largely procedural:
    • Applications
    • Permits (types, conditions and effective dates)
    • Transfers
    • Appeals
    • Directions
    • Commercial Confidentiality and National Security
    • Compliance
    • Offences/Enforcement
    • Public Registers
    • Public Participation / Consultation
environmental permitting regime cont d
Environmental Permitting Regime cont’d
  • RSR-specific changes:
    • Staged regulation of solid radioactive waste disposal facilities
    • Duty to display permits to be subject to national security
    • Guidance
    • Public consultation
      • All RSR applications consulted on
      • Variations where there is substantial change
      • Minimum consultation will be website
    • Simplified arrangements for inter-site waste transfers
      • No requirement for route-specific transfer permit
      • Consignor permit allows waste transfer to anyone who holds appropriate permit
      • No variation needed for new disposal route
      • EA will not inform LAs as no permit, disposer will inform LA of origin of all waste they receive.
key issues for eo review from first consultation
Key issues for EO Review – from first consultation
  • How to define ‘natural activity’
  • Definition of ‘radioactive materials’ and ‘radioactive waste’
  • Exclusion of primordial radionuclides e.g.K-40 and Sm-147
  • Clearance/exemption levels for aqueous liquids
  • Incorporation of VLLW
  • Provisions for NORM wastes
  • Sealed source definitions
  • ‘Unlimited’ holdings (e.g smoke detectors, testing equipment)
  • Laboratory disposals
potential developments to address issues
Potential developments to address issues
  • Retain principle of ‘exclusion’ rather than inclusion of radioactive materials and waste
  • Aqueous liquids – use of calculated GDLs (10microSv) developed by HPA
  • Substances/articles possessing radioactivity attributable to contamination by radioactive material/waste to be outside scope
  • Substances contaminated by radioactive waste from permitted disposals to be outside scope
  • Graded approach for conditionally exempt waste disposal
    • Exemption for articles, etc
    • LV VLLW up to 50 m3/yr
    • Generic assessment for NORM wastes up to 4MBq/Te
    • Site-specific assessment for NORM LLW up to 10MBq/Te
current timetable
Current timetable
  • Consultation began – 12th June
  • Consultation ended – 4th September
  • Consultation Summary Report – 4th December
  • Government guidance published – January 2010
  • Regulations laid – January 2010
  • Regulations come into force – April 2010