The regulations for radiological protection and emergency preparedness around the UK’s nuclear sites was updated in 2019 to reflect international best practice.
Legislation, known as REPPIR 2019: Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations became UK law on 22 May 2019 with local authorities given a year to implement the changes.
The main change sees Local Authorities now determining the size of the Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ). The DEPZ is an area around a nuclear facility which requires detailed emergency plans to be prepared. Currently a 2.4km circle around the nuclear facility.
The Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) regulates arrangements under its approved code of practice and nuclear operators, including Magnox (Hunterston A) and EDF Energy (Hunterston B), and provides technical guidance to Local Authorities for local plans.
This legislation applies to all nuclear sites across the UK.
In 2016 the ONR concluded that, due to the substantial reduction in both the hazard and risk of a radiation emergency at Magnox’s Hunterston A Power Station, there is no longer a reasonably foreseeable radiation emergency that could occur and there was no requirement for any detailed planning.
As part of the implementation process Magnox and EDF have submitted their respective Consequence Reports to North Ayrshire Council. These reports set out the technical justification for determining the minimum distance of the DEPZ.
We are in the process of considering the contents of the consequence reports. Please be advised that these documents may not be fully accessible, contact us to request the information in an alternative format:
Using the technical advice provided by the operator, they have also sought independent advice from Public Health England (PHE) and their own knowledge of the local population, geography and infrastructure. Assessing this helps to determine the DEPZ boundary.
A small number of households, within the DEPZ, will continue to receive information and are supplied with stable iodine tablets. This is to prepare for the unlikely event of an offsite release of radiation. The ‘risk’ rating for the Hunterston site has not altered and remains very low.
Local authorities are responsible for changes to the wider emergency planning boundaries, known as the Outline Planning Zone (OPZ). These are currently set at 10km but ONR has extended these to 30km for civil nuclear sites across the UK.
The changes enhance the plans already in place. They ensure that local authorities have good mapping information, detailing facilities like care homes and schools. They also provide agencies with robust information to support countermeasure and evacuation advice in the unlikely event of an off-site release.