Response to Department of Energy and Climate Change consultation: application to justify new nuclear power stations
The Environment Agency welcomes this consultation on the Nuclear Industry Association’s (NIA) application for Justification of new nuclear power stations and on the Government’s preliminary view about the description of the practice that is to be Justified.
Prior to the enactment of the Justification Regulations we were the body responsible for Justification decisions in England and Wales including those relating to the existing nuclear power stations. As such we have significant relevant experience in this area and, through the Justification Coordination Committee, we will provide relevant advice to the “Justifying Authority” – the Secretary State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
We note that the application is consistent with the Government’s 2008 Nuclear White Paper’s strategy with regard to the disposal of spent fuel and intermediate level radioactive waste in a Geological Disposal Facility. In our view continued progress by Government to secure a Geological Disposal Facility is essential not just to help underpin this strategy for new build spent fuel and wastes but because it is required for existing radioactive wastes, whether or not new nuclear stations are built.
Furthermore, with regard to new nuclear power stations, the development of a robust Funded Decommissioning and Waste Management Programme at each new station is key to ensuring that future unfunded liabilities are not created.
Operators proposing to construct and operate new nuclear power stations will have to apply to the relevant regulators for all relevant permits for their station. We are providing this response without prejudice to our decisions on the Generic Design Assessment of the reactor designs identified in the NIA’s application and our decisions about any subsequent site specific applications by developers for relevant environmental permits for any of these reactor designs.
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