The planning regime for decommissioning nuclear facilities in England and Wales
The planning regime for decommissioning nuclear facilities in England and Wales

The following Energy guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The planning regime for decommissioning nuclear facilities in England and Wales
  • Background
  • Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
  • Funded decommissioning programme
  • Planning policy position for decommissioning
  • Planning regime
  • Permitted development rights
  • Planning issues in decommissioning SMRs
  • Planning appeals and judicial review

Produced in partnership with Burges Salmon LLP.

Background

Decommissioning nuclear facilities is the process of dealing with redundant nuclear facilities that have reached the end of their operational life.

The planning regime for decommissioning sits alongside the licencing regime governed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

The aim of decommissioning is to ensure that the site is returned to a state that can be used for an alternative use and to make sure that the site has been de-licensed.

Decommissioning is usually conducted in three stages:

  1. stage 1—Post-operational clean out where the bulk of the radioactive material, such as fuel, is removed from the facility

  2. stage 2—Initial dismantling and removal of contaminated parts or care and maintenance to allow radioactive materials to decay

  3. stage 3—Dismantling of the facility, demolition of the structure and remediation of land and water to meet an agreed end-state for future use

Owners of the current fleet of commercial reactors and other nuclear facilities are responsible for making arrangements for decommissioning when their facilities reach the end of their operational life. This is to comply with the conditions of the nuclear site licence granted by the ONR.

The ONR regulates nuclear safety and security at nuclear sites in the UK and sets out the conditions each licensee must comply with during the running and decommissioning of a nuclear facility. See

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