ALBA: Dounreay unprocessed foreign waste HSE respond

The HSE have responded to a query from the Celtic League about the storage of unprocessed nuclear material from foreign sources at the Dounreay nuclear facility.

The League wrote to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations in February. See link below:

https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3249

The detailed response from the HSE is set out below:

“Dear Mr Moffatt

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2010020455

Thank you for your request for information about:

Dounreay – Unprocessed Nuclear Waste – Storage and Monitoring

1. What quantity of unprocessed material from foreign sources is held?

2. The nature of the current storage regime and whether this would be classed as suitable in the medium to long term?

3. Given difficulties with management and operation at Dounreay in the past,what system is in place for the storage of this waste to be monitored and is a recent report into the management of the waste publicly available?

4. What options for long-term storage are currently under consideration?

Your request was received on 18 February 2010 and I am dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).

I can confirm that the Health and Safety Executive can provide the following information:

1. What quantity of unprocessed material from foreign sources is held?

DSRL holds 3.1 tonnes of the material in question in suitable storage facilities on the Dounreay site.

2. The nature of the current storage regime and whether this would be classed as suitable in the medium to long term?

The fuel is stored in containers appropriate for the safe containment of the fuel and held in storage facilities, which meet national safety and security regulations. These fuel stores are operated under a safety case, which has been reviewed to ensure that the protection of the staff, the public and the environment meets national and international standards for the immediate and medium term. The stores are regularly inspected by national and international safety, security and safeguards regulators to ensure compliance with the relevant regulations is an ongoing process.

3. Given difficulties with management and operation at Dounreay in the past, what system is in place for the storage of this waste to be monitored and is a recent report into the management of the waste publicly available?

As stated in the answer to Question 2, the Dounreay Site Licence conditions require nuclear material to be stored and accounted for in compliance with national and international regulations. The fuel inventory is held under safeguarded requirements, with the inventory data reported to the Directorate General Energy (DG ENER), an arm of the European Commission. In addition, DG ENER inspectors carry out an annual physical inventory verification to independently check the physical location and content of the fuel containers within the fuel stores. The DG ENER inspection is often observed by HSE staff on behalf of UK Safeguards requirements. The Dounreay inventory taking information is published by the UK government on an annual basis as part of the overall UK civil nuclear industry inventory publication.

4. What options for long-term storage are currently under consideration?

The Dounreay Life Time Plan includes the provision of a future new fuel store. This store will be used to house all the fuel on the Dounreay site, including any foreign material for the longer term, and will be assessed by the NII at a variety of stages of the project, from initial design, through construction, commissioning and routine operations to ensure that safety standards are complied with. In addition, inspectors from the Office of Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) will carry out assessments at similar phases of the project to ensure that security standards are also met. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, in conjunction with DSRL management are carrying out an optimisation exercise to ensure the material is managed in a safe and efficient manner.”

The Celtic League intend to pursue further enquiries with the International Atomic Energy Agency in relation to the response to question 2 (above).

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