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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Sellafield bids to end limits for discharges

SELLAFIELD is looking to remove the limits for controlling radioactive discharges into the air from its main operational plants.

These cover the discharge stacks of Thorp and Magnox reprocessing plants.

The overall site limit for monitoring discharges to make sure they are safe will stay in place – for the time being at least.

In the meantime site operators Sellafield Ltd is applying to the Environment Agency to have individual plant limits removed.

EA representative Rob Allott told members of the West Cumbria (nuclear) Stakeholders health and safety watchdogs: “The application to vary the permit for some of the plant levels is because discharges are now so low that they fall below our criteria for setting limits.”

He added that money saved in not having to monitor could be spent on helping to reduce Sellafield’s high hazard risks.

Stakeholders were assured that community consultations would have to take place over any application to relax the site limits in the future perhaps at a time when reprocessing was finishing.

Sellafield Ltd said yesterday: “We are working closely with the Environment Agency to demonstrate effective control of aerial and liquid discharges under the site’s Environmental Permit.

“We aim to make the site safer, cleaner and a better neighbour for our local communities and discharges are now considerably lower than historic levels.

“Our aim is to ensure that society and the environment continue to be protected in an efficient way while minimising the burden of regulation on business.

“The latest stage in this process includes proposals to remove a number of gaseous plant limits where measurement does not provide any overall benefit in terms of protection of the public and the environment.

“Any future proposal to look at options involving those site limits wold require community involvement and consultation. We will continue to work closely with the EA to determine the most effective way forward.”

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