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Introduction

We are the Waste Planning Authority for Somerset, excluding Exmoor National Park. We are responsible for deciding planning applications for radioactive waste management in Somerset, apart from Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.

The Government expects us to plan for the sustainable management of low level radioactive waste.

Industry may also propose treatment and storage of intermediate level waste.

What we are responsible for

We are responsible for the planning policy on radioactive waste in Somerset. A chapter in the Somerset Waste Core Strategy (adopted 2013) focuses on radioactive waste treatment and storage (covering low level radioactive waste and intermediate level waste), supported by evidence.

Our planning policy team has updated a topic paper on radioactive waste – Waste topic paper C – Radioactive waste. This replaces a topic paper on radioactive waste approved in early 2012.

Hinkley Point is the main producer of radioactive waste in Somerset. It is the main focus of our work on radioactive waste planning policy.

Hinkley Point includes:

  • Hinkley Point A: a first-generation nuclear power station which is now being decommissioned. Its Site Licence Company is Magnox Ltd.
  • Hinkley Point B: is a separately licensed operational power station. Its Site Licence Company is EDF Energy.
  • Hinkley Point C: Preparatory works have started on site. Main site works are due to start after a final investment decision by EDF Energy, which is expected soon.

Our role

We have a role in non-nuclear industry radioactive waste planning and in monitoring developments that might impact on Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material. Co-operating as appropriate with the Environment Agency:

  • Somerset Council must be informed by the evidence available on non-nuclear industry radioactive waste. There is no evidence to suggest that Somerset generates significant amounts of non-nuclear radioactive waste (from sources such as hospitals, universities and military establishments). Our main area of responsibility lies in keeping a watching brief on the waste management routes available and identifying any blocks that may impede Somerset producers from accessing those routes.
  • The oil and gas sector are the main source of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material generated by development. Somerset does not have an active oil and gas sector, though there are licences offered by central government in the latest round of onshore oil and gas licensing. Our main responsibility around Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material is in monitoring relevant developments. In particular those associated with the oil and gas sector and reviewing any implications for Somerset.

Last reviewed: April 12, 2024 by Keri

Next review due: October 12, 2024

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