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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Evacuation zone ‘may be extended’

PLANS to extend the emergency evacuation around the Sellafield site would have “major implications” for large parts of Copeland, it has been claimed.

The Office for Nuclear Regulations (ONR) – which oversees the nuclear industry – is expected to recommend an increase in the surrounding evacuation zone in the event of an emergency incident.

The current Detailed Emergency Planning Zones (DEPZ) are 2km for immediate evacuation, and 6km for a secondary evacuation.

It is expected a recommendation to increase both areas will be made in a new ONR report, produced in light of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, which is due by the end of November.

David Moore, chair of West Cumbria Stakeholders (nuclear sites) Group, said: “It will have major implications if, as we expect, the ONR recommends extending both the immediate and secondary evacuation areas when it publishes its findings.

“It can’t be implemented overnight – and the ONR’s recommendations will only begin the discussions – but, if and when it’s introduced, it will affect hundreds and hundreds of households.”

The current immediate evacuation zone – a 2km radius from the site’s Calder Hall – takes in only around 50 homes.

If an area falls into a DEPZ, an off-site emergency plan must be adopted on how this area can be evacuated following a hazardous incident. In addition, housing developments, businesses and other planning applications that fall in a DEPZ are subject to strict regulations.

Mr Moore said: “Seascale currently touches the very edge of the immediate 2km evacuation zone, and if it is extended even slightly, it will take in Seascale, Beckermet and other surrounding areas.

“If the secondary evacuation zone is increased – and it could go up to 10km – it will take in large towns with large populations including Egremont, although falling just short of Whitehaven.”

Once the ONR makes its recommendations, discussions will take place between the NDA, Sellafield Ltd, the Stakeholders Group, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council towards it being implemented.

Have your say

"large towns with large populations including Egremont, although falling just short of Whitehaven". Since when did Egremont and Whitehaven become "large towns". They are tiny towns with small populations!

Posted by Ian Cromwell on 18 November 2013 at 19:32

Clive the roads would be fine if all the workers went in on there correct muster times
and Chernobyl was an eye openner for me

Posted by john on 15 November 2013 at 23:08

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