Consultation outcome

Sellafield: radioactive substances activities (RSA) permit variation

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

Decision document (V010)

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Consolidated permit (V010)

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Variation notice (V010)

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Decision document: full report

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Consolidated permit (V009)

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Variation notice (V009)

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Detail of outcome

Due to the impact of COVID-19, Sellafield Ltd is not able to make the changes required to implement the permit variation (V009) on 1 April 2020. Sellafield Ltd has applied for another variation (V010) to change the date on which the permit comes into effect to 1 October 2020. We have accepted this variation application and issued another variation (V010) to the permit on 27 March 2020, which will come into effect on 1 October 2020. The only change is a delay in the effective date. We have withdrawn the variation that was due to come into effect on 1 April 2020. In the meantime Sellafield Ltd will operate under its existing permit variation (V008).

The Environment Agency has completed its review and consultation on Sellafield Ltd’s application to vary its radioactive substances activities (RSA) environmental permit.

In October 2018, Sellafield Ltd applied for a number of changes to its RSA environmental permit, mainly to reflect the operator’s forecast reductions in radioactive discharges and changing focus from reprocessing to decommissioning.

We consulted on Sellafield Ltd’s application from 26 October to 21 December 2018. We took those responses into account in our determination of the application. We then consulted on a draft decision and draft permit from 7 October to 1 December 2019.

The consultation responses from professional partners were positive regarding changes to Sellafield Ltd’s radioactive substances permit. Some stakeholders raised issues of concern; these are addressed in our decision document.

We have varied Sellafield Ltd’s radioactive substances permit, to implement all the changes in the final decision document. The main changes to the permit are to:

  • significantly reduce site discharge limits and introduce an upper and lower tier structure for site discharge limits
  • remove some site discharge limits where discharges have fallen below significant levels and they do not meet our criteria for setting limits
  • replace plant discharge limits with plant notification levels so that Sellafield Ltd can make most effective use of the available discharge routes and treatment plants
  • remove discharge limits related to the rate of fuel reprocessing (throughput) to reflect the end of reprocessing operations

The varied permit will become effective on 1 April 2020.

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our consultation.

Read about how we regulate Sellafield.

Detail of feedback received

We received 18 responses from organisations and individuals. We published these on our consultation website.

Appendix 6 of our final decision document contains:

  • a summary of the points they raised, grouped into 80 topic areas
  • our consideration of them

Some of the consultation responses were very detailed. We have kept that detail in the document so that the extent of the issue we are responding to is clear.

Original consultation

Summary

Sellafield Ltd have applied to make changes to their RSA permit at Sellafield in Cumbria. We want your views on these changes.

This consultation was held on another website.

This consultation ran from
to

Consultation description

The Environment Agency has carried out a major review of Sellafield Ltd’s RSA permit. The permit controls receipt and disposal of radioactive waste and imposes conditions and limits on discharges. This is the most significant review of this permit since the early 2000s.

As part of this review Sellafield Ltd submitted an application for a RSA permit variation in October 2018. We ran a consultation on this application from 26 October 2018 to 21 December 2018.

We are now seeking comments on our draft decision for this permit application. Public consultation helps us take account of any information that people think is relevant to our decision making.

Our draft decision is for the following main changes:

  • significantly reduce site discharge limits and introduce an upper and lower tier structure for site discharge limits
  • remove some site discharge limits where discharges have fallen below significant levels and they do not meet the Environment Agency criteria for setting limits
  • replace plant discharge limits with plant notification levels so that Sellafield Ltd can make most effective use of the available discharge routes and treatment plants
  • remove discharge limits related to the rate of fuel reprocessing (throughput) to reflect the end of reprocessing operations
  • introduce a specific tritium limit for solid waste disposals at the on-site landfill known as Calder Landfill Extension Segregated Area
  • update the permit to the latest template so that it reflects recent guidance changes

Documents

Draft permit decision: summary

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Draft permit decision: full report

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Consolidated permit

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Published 27 February 2020
Last updated 31 March 2020 + show all updates
  1. Due to the impact of COVID-19, Sellafield Ltd is not able to make the changes required to implement the permit variation (V009) on 1 April 2020. Sellafield Ltd has applied for another variation (V010) to change the date on which the permit comes into effect to 1 October 2020. We have accepted this variation application and issued another variation (V010) to the permit on 27 March 2020, which will come into effect on 1 October 2020. The only change is a delay in the effective date. We have withdrawn the variation that was due to come into effect on 1 April 2020. In the meantime Sellafield Ltd will operate under its existing permit variation (V008).

  2. First published.