Agenda and minutes
Venue: The Bainbridge Room, The Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven. CA28 7SJ
Contact: Clive Willoughby Tel: 01946 598328
Apologies for Absence
An apology for absence was received from Councillor Peter Connolly.
Declarations of Interest
There were no Declarations of Interests made at this meeting.
RESOLVED - That the minutes of the meeting held on 2 October 2018 be signed by the Chair as a correct record.
The Interim Nuclear Project Manager provided the Board with an update on nuclear projects, specifically the Moorside Project, the North West Coast Connections Project and the Government’s intentions to provide a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) for higher activity radioactive waste.
With regards Moorside, members were advised that following Toshiba’s decision to cease any further development of their involvement in the Moorside site, the NuGen operation would be closing down on 31 March 2019.
Following Toshiba’s decision, there was nothing further to report regarding the North West Coast Connections Project.
It was noted that the Mayor had already written to Government to press for nuclear development in Copeland.
In respect of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF), members were reminded that in April 2018, Council submitted a consultation response to two Government consultations under the white paper ‘Implementing Geological Disposal: A Framework for the long term management of higher activity radioactive waste’, one on ‘Working with Communities’ and the other on the National Policy Statement for GDF Infrastructure.
Members were advised that Government is understood to have reviewed the consultation responses and a decision to launch the process and the search for a volunteer host community was expected to start soon.
Once a launch date was known a programme of Member workshops would be planned with a view to developing a Council position on the siting process.
The Chief Executive stated that Copeland was involved in the process whether or not we were host as the waste was already here. It was also stated that the current position of Council would be circulated to all Strategic Nuclear and Energy Board members.
RESOLVED:- that the updates be noted.
The Nuclear Sector Development Manager introduced the Sellafield Ltd Environmental Permits Review report to the Board.
Members were advised that the Environment Agency are the regulatory authority for the Radioactive Substances Activities Permit, which allows Sellafield to operate facilities which result in radioactive aqueous and gaseous discharges to the environment and solid waste disposals. The Permit was subject to annual review and frequent variation.
In October 2018 the Environment Agency launched a consultation process for adjusting the Radioactive Substances Activities Permit for the Sellafield site.
The proposed changes include:
· Removal of specified Site Limits
· Reduction in headroom of Site Limits
· Replacement of Plant Limits with Notification Levels
· Introduction of a tiered approach to Site Limits
During the discussion that followed, members were keen to ensure that the monitoring of discharges was maintained at a high level and that the Environment Agency kept a close eye on decommissioning.
RESOLVED:- that the Board delegate authority to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Nuclear and Corporate Services to form a response to the Environment Agency’s consultation on Sellafield Ltd Environmental Permits Review.
The Nuclear Sector Development Manager introduced a report updating Members on changes to the UK Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations.
The Board were advised that under these regulations certain obligations were placed on nuclear site licence holders and local authorities in respect of emergency preparedness and response.
The Euratom (European Union) Basic Safety Standards Directive 2013 set out updated safety requirements for the nuclear sector. It mandated that the UK must transpose this EU directive into UK law by 6 February 2019.
The transposition of the EU directive into UK legislation has been a 5 year process. The Government consultation on the changes started in August 2017, to which Copeland Borough Council provided a response.
The changes were expected to be implemented in early 2019, after which there would be a one year transition period, with an Approved Code of Practice published later. Consultation had not yet begun on the Approved Code of Practice, this wasd expected in mid to late 2019.
The Government’s consultation response covered:
· Radiation emergency
· Risk assessment and evaluation
· Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ)
· Outline Planning Zones
· Emergency workers
During the discussion that followed, members welcomed the report and found it re-assuring. It was suggested that members of this Board be invited to future Off-Site Co-ordination and Response (OSCAR) exercises, that the Community Safety Manager be invited to a future meeting of the Board and that Board members be given access to Resilience.
a) The report be noted,
b) Consideration be given to inviting Board members to future Off-Site Co-ordination and Response (OSCAR) exercises,
c) the Community Safety Manager be invited to a future meeting of the Board, and
d) that Board members be given access to Resilience.
A paper introducing the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee’s report on Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Risk Reduction at Sellafield was presented by the Nuclear Sector Development Manager.
During the discussion that followed, members expressed their concern at the Public Accounts Committee’s findings and suggested a further meeting to discuss would be welcomed.
It was also suggested that the Strategic Nuclear and Energy Board members would like to see the draft response before it is referred to the Executive.
a) The information contained in the Public Accounts Committee’s report be noted,
b) It be delegated to the Chief Executive and Portfolio Holder for Nuclear and Corporate Services to develop a response to the Public Accounts Committee, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Sellafield Ltd which is to be circulated to Board members for comment prior to submission.
Members were updated on work being undertaken by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to review the strategy of decommissioning of the UK’s Magnox Reactor Fleet, including Calder Hall on the Sellafield site.
During the discussion that followed, members expressed a view that Copeland would benefit from an early clean-up of Calder Hall.
It was also stated that the factors listed in section 5.3 of the report, being
1. Risk to workers and the public
2. Minimising impact to the environment
3. Socio-economics and supply chain
4. Enabling the NDA mission
5. Resources and skills
6. Logistics, transport and infrastructure
7. Lifetime cost
Would help bring forward Calder Hall.
a) the position regarding the review of the Strategy for Decommissioning Magnox Reactors be noted.
b) Feedback on the summary workshop report be looked at by the Chair of Strategic Nuclear and Energy Board and the Portfolio Holder before being signed off.
The Board considered a report on the Relevance of the Nuclear Sector Deal to Copeland.
Members stated that there was a lot of relevance in the report.
In particular it was highlighted that Copeland’s priorities in relation to people and skills should be:
· To retain and develop the highly skilled and experienced nuclear workforce in Copeland
· To work with our large employers and growing supply chains in pushing for advancement of apprenticeship and graduate programmes that give people the right skills in the right place
· To match the skills pipeline to the current and future skills demand of the economy, including but not limited to the needs of Sellafield and the potential skills requirement to support nuclear new build
· To develop people to adapt to the rapidly changing nature of employment practices and the future of work, and to develop adaptable and transferable skills that can be utilised from sector to sector.
RESOLVED:- that the messages relating to the Nuclear Deal that were included in the response to the consultation on the Cumbria LEP’s draft Local Industrial Strategy be noted.
The Senior Planning Officer provided the Board with an update of developments at Sellafield Limited.
RESOLVED:- That the Update be noted.
Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Strategic Nuclear and Energy Board will be on Wednesday 6 February 2019 at 2:00pm in the Bainbridge Room, The Copeland Centre.
The next meeting of the Strategic Nuclear and Energy Board will be held on Wednesday 6 February 2019 at 2:00pm, in the Bainbridge Room, The Copeland Centre, Whitehaven.