«IAEA-TECDOC-1553 Low and Intermediate Level Waste Repositories: Socioeconomic Aspects and Public Involvement Proceedings of a workshop held in ...»
⎯ A decision on siting, design, construction of Nuclear Facilities and Radioactive Waste Management Objects of National Value the Parliament of Ukraine takes only in case of the corresponding approval of such siting by regional authorities and local governments (Article 2) ⎯ Regional authorities and local governments take a decision on siting, design, construction of Nuclear Facilities and Radioactive Waste Management Objects of National Value after the carrying out of local advisory pull of citizens (consultative referendum) on the mentioned issue (Article 3).
⎯ The draft Law of Ukraine is enclosed by (Article 5):
• The results of a consultative referendum;
• The report on information measures for neighbouring countries on possible transboundary impacts.
3. INFORMING PUBLIC ON FACILITY SAFETY
The main objective of the public hearings on nuclear energy use and radiation safety is to respect the rights of citizens and public organizations for involvement in the discussion on siting, design, construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear facilities, enterprises for uranium ore mining and milling and facilities for management of radioactive waste, radiation sources etc. During public hearings and public consultations, the main design aspects are subject to a detailed and independent analysis by the interested audience. Taking into account comments of the public, additional measures are identified to protect the public and the environment. This builds confidence in the fact that any potential negative impact on the environment will be minimized.
The public hearings conducted in Energodar, Marganets and Nikopol to fulfil the order of the President of Ukraine “On Informing the Public on the Spent Fuel Storage Facility” No. 1of 11 December 2000 and regarding the construction and commissioning of the spent fuel store for Zaporizhya NPP can be set as an example of keeping the public informed and taking into account public opinion in decision making. To inform the public on the storage facility safety articles are systematically issued in regional mass media and regular information is provided on the local TV channel. Lectures and visits are arranged for students and inhabitants of the 30-km zone to the nuclear facilities, etc. Also, a booklet on the spent fuel has been prepared and distributed in the region. Each visitor of the ZNPP information centre receives a booklet and brochure titled “Zaporizhya NPP and the Environment”.
4. CONCLUSION The indicated approach has helped to find common understanding between the nuclear facility operator and local public. This method shall be applied also at other Ukrainian nuclear sites following the legislative requirements.
Table 1 List of radioactive waste management facilities at UkrDO Radon and SSE Complex
* The designed capacity for storages of the Chernigiv Region, data for other storages are absent ** Not taking into account the designed capacity of the building for storage of tubing, which is 650 t *** Design documentation for these disposal facilities is absent Table 2 Information on radioactive waste of NNEGC in storage at sites of operating NPPs
* activity and radionuclide composition are not determined due to absence of appropriate equipment and facilities ** data are tentative as obtained in calculation
* taking into account weight of radwaste placed in containers for temporary storage (considering only waste weight) ** not taking into account the volume of tubing *** taking into account the weight of tubing **** not measured
Socioeconomic issues and public involvement practices and approaches for developing and operating repositories for low and intermediate level waste UK perspective P.M. Booth Nexia Solutions Ltd, Warrington, United Kingdom Abstract The United Kingdom (UK) currently has one national disposal facility for low level radioactive waste (LLW), which is located 6km south of the Sellafield site in Cumbria. The Low Level Waste Repository has been in operation for over 40 years and is operated by British Nuclear Group. LLW is also disposed of at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) operated Dounreay site in Scotland, but here only waste generated from that particular site is retained. The authorized disposal of intermediate level waste (ILW) took place at Dounreay within a shaft, primarily between the years of 1958 and 1977. The UK does not currently have a national waste repository for ILW, although a siting exercise was conducted by Nirex during the 1990’s. This exercise was stopped in 1997 when an application to construct a rock characterization facility was turned down. The successful siting, development and ultimate operation of repositories, whether they be for low or intermediate level waste relies on a sound programme of public involvement and consideration of socioeconomic issues.
This paper will focus primarily on the socioeconomic issues and public involvement practices undertaken at the Low Level Waste Repository coupled with the work undertaken by Nirex both during their siting exercise and subsequent to this. Work underpinning the adopted strategies for the LLW and ILW disposal areas at Dounreay will be discussed only briefly since they are not national facilities. Over the last ten years there has been a marked increase in the level of stakeholder engagement and consideration of socioeconomic issues in response to wider societal changes. A wide range of site specific, regional and national dialogues have taken place. The lessons learned from earlier programmes have been incorporated into the more recent and current approaches, especially with an increased emphasis on local benefits.
The successful siting, development and ultimate operation of repositories, whether they be for low or intermediate level waste relies on a sound programme of public involvement and consideration of socioeconomic issues. The UK currently has one national disposal facility for low level radioactive waste (LLW), which is located 6km south of the Sellafield site in Cumbria. The Low Level Waste Repository has been in operation for over 40 years and is operated by British Nuclear Group. The UK does not currently have a national waste repository for ILW, although a siting exercise was conducted by Nirex during the 1990’s.
This paper will focus primarily on the socioeconomic issues and public involvement practices undertaken at the Low Level Waste Repository during the years it has operated coupled with the work undertaken by Nirex both during their siting exercise and subsequent to this. Work underpinning the adopted strategies for the LLW and ILW disposal areas at the UKAEA operated Dounreay site in Scotland will be highlighted but only briefly discussed as neither are national facilities.
2. THE LOW LEVEL WASTE REPOSITORY
2.1. Setting and Operation The UK’s national Low Level Waste Repository is located 6km south of the Sellafield site in Cumbria and is operated by British Nuclear Group. Originally the site was used for the production of explosives but it was transferred to the UKAEA in 1957 for development as a low level waste repository. BNFL took over ownership of the site in 1971, and this ownership was recently transferred to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in April 2005.
The site has been operated safely for over 40 years and has evolved in line with international best practice. During the years from 1959 to 1995 waste was tumble tipped into open trenches which were then covered with earth and an interim cap. Since 1995, following a major upgrade of disposal operations, all LLW is now disposed of in engineered concrete vaults.
Where possible the waste is compacted, containerized and grouted before placement in the vaults. Disposals at the site are authorized by the UK’s Environment Agency and must not exceed 4GBq/te of alpha or 12GBq/te of beta/gamma activity. Waste is transported to the site by both road and rail with the latter via the Sellafield site where any further waste minimization and containerization may be carried out.
2.2. Project Related Stakeholder Engagement
Stakeholder engagement has been undertaken through a wide range of site specific, regional and national dialogues as well as community programmes and a commitment to economic regeneration. Two specific examples of engagement activities are the Retrieval of Plutonium Contaminated Material and the Site Characterization Project.
2.2.1. Retrieval of Plutonium Contaminated Material
Between 1959 and 1967, Plutonium Contaminated Material (PCM) was stored in existing Royal Ordnance Magazines at the Low Level Waste Repository. In 1999 BNFL made a clear commitment to the local community and regulators to retrieve all plutonium contaminated material waste from the site within an agreed timeframe. Communicating the company’s intentions and encompassing the local stakeholder view has been the key to the success of the project. Early involvement of the stakeholders through a formalized communications plan has allowed the key concerns to be addressed.
2.2.2. Site Characterization Programme
During the late 1990’s an extensive site characterization programme was undertaken with the objective of acquiring the underpinning data for the Environmental Safety Case. Due to the programme’s high profile coupled with the fact that some characterization work was required outside of the site boundary, it was necessary to involve a wide range of stakeholders.
Because part of the land to be characterized involved different landowners and tenants, and housed protected species, a planning application was also required. Presentations and site visits were arranged for the various local and district councils so that they could inform their respective communities.
2.3. Stakeholder Engagement Practices Stakeholder engagement practices have occurred during the operation rather than the selection phase of the site. A number of forums and processes have been set up over the years to assist this process.
The Sellafield Local Liaison Committee (now replaced by the West Cumbria Sites Stakeholder Group (WCSSG) is a representational body of local opinion formers including, councillors, health experts, local government officers, fire, police and ambulance personnel.
Representatives are elected to the committee which meets four times a year. Members of the public and observers including NGO’s attend. As part of the WCSSG there is a dedicated subcommittee for the Low Level Waste Repository.
The management team at the Low Level Waste Repository also undertakes a programme of regular and ad hoc liaison meetings with the local parish council. The parish council is also invited to attend the regular stakeholder meetings along with the regulators, local and borough council representatives and customers.
The Sellafield Talks Service encourages qualified personnel to give talks to schools, clubs and associations. Also information requests and queries are sometimes answered through this forum. Both formal and social meetings with various sectors of the community (i.e., farmers, landowners, church leaders and fishermen) are held and support is provided to local, national and international media inquiries.
The Sellafield Visitors Centre is a major tourist attraction and encompasses a state of the art exhibition.
An active community programme exists which revolves primarily around a socioeconomic
plan. The three key areas covered within this programme are:
⎯ Economic Regeneration ⎯ Community/Social Sector projects ⎯ Education In terms of the community/social sector projects, the establishment of the Westlakes Science and Technology Park has helped acquire over £10million of regional and European investment. Within this is the Westlakes Research Institute which was established to help diversify the economy of west Cumbria through the provision of consultancy and academic programmes in the environmental, health and social sciences fields. Funding has also been provided through a wide range of social sector projects including assistance towards the establishment of new businesses in the region.
While stakeholder engagement has taken place at a range of scales, especially the local scale, the economic assistance components have focused more on providing regional benefit. More recently there has been a drive to determine how the communities most affected by the existence of a repository can be better supported.
3. THE SEARCH FOR AN ILW SOLUTIONNirex was created in 1982 with an original remit to take forward the UK’s policy at the time on the management of low and intermediate level radioactive waste. It was owned and
financed by the nuclear industry with the following shareholders:
⎯ BNFL ⎯ UKAEA ⎯ British Energy ⎯ Ministry of Defence ⎯ Department of Trade and Industry (Golden share) Nirex developed a series of proposals for a combined deep repository for LLW and ILW.
They undertook a site selection exercise in line with IAEA principles and embarked on a major public consultation exercise. A technical discussion document entitled “The Way forward” was produced with 50 000 copies widely distributed. This exercise included 60 seminars involving about 2500 people, and Nirex received an equal number of responses to the discussion document. Following this period of consultation, Nirex recommended two of its potential 12 sites (Sellafield and Dounreay) for further site characterization and assessment. However, the full list of potential sites was not made public until June 2005. This further phase of site characterization led to the choice of Sellafield as the preferred site for detailed characterization and assessment.
Nirex then embarked on a public relations programme that had both a national and local focus. The national component included a 24-hour service to the media, production of key documents like “The Way Forward” and “Going Forward”, a national public affairs programme and an educational programme. The local component included liaison with local authorities and statutory organizations, arrangement of visits to overseas facilities and the distribution of information packs.