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RWMD welcomes regulators’ review of the generic Disposal System Safety Case documents
21 December 2011
A joint regulatory review of the NDA Radioactive Waste Management Directorate's generic Disposal System Safety Case (gDSSC) for disposal of higher activity radioactive waste in a geological disposal facility has concluded that "We [the regulators] have identified no specific issues, from our review of the gDSSC, that would prevent a safety case, capable of meeting transport, operational and environmental regulatory requirements, being made for a geological disposal facility in the future, providing a suitable site is available."
The review covered the suite of documents known as the generic Disposal System Safety Case published by NDA in February 2011.
The review was carried out by the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Environment Agency and the Department for Transport.
The generic Disposal System Safety Case is based on RWMD's generic disposal facility designs that could be implemented in a range of geological settings that can be found in the UK. The documents assess the safety of a disposal facility during construction, operation and after closure as well as transport and the potential environment impacts. It is generic as no potential sites for a geological disposal facility have been identified yet. The site selection process is being led by Government under the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely process and is based on voluntarism and partnership with potential host communities.
The regulators' review states:
"We consider that the broad structure of the gDSSC is acceptable in terms of the general coverage of the documents and of the links shown between them. It provides confidence, to a degree appropriate at this early stage in implementing geological disposal."
They set out a number of recommendations to help RWMD develop the gDSSC in future and make progress towards producing an acceptable site-specific safety case once a site has been identified. The recommendations include:
- Producing a route map to show how the gDDSC might develop into a site specific safety case
- Reducing repetition and overlap between the documents
- Continuing to make the documents accessible to a wide audience
- Clarifying how change control will be applied to the suite of documents
- Including a wider exploration of waste inventory uncertainty
Bruce McKirdy, RWMD's Managing Director welcomed the regulatory review and said:
"We have established voluntary agreements with the regulators to review our work and we requested that they scrutinise the gDSSC suite of documents. I am very grateful to them for this work and the recommendations they have made to help our future work. This will help us to ensure our assessments develop in line with the regulators' requirements."
The full regulators' review is available at the following web link: