Updates to Sizewell DEPZ 01May2014

Updates to Sizewell DEPZ

In January 2014, ONR introduced Annex 2 to their document The Technical Assessment of REPPIR Submissions and the Determination of Detailed Emergency Planning Zones. This Annex details a description of the process ONR uses to determine Detailed Emergency Planning Zones (DEPZs) around nuclear facilities in the UK and the principles used. This includes both Operational Nuclear Power Stations and those undergoing decommissioning.

Where there is potential for off-site release of radioactivity within the UK that would require implementation of countermeasures, a DEPZ will be implemented.

The changes proposed, primarily relate to the fact that from now on, in consultation with local authorities, ONR will base its decisions on consideration of practical and strategic factors, such as local demographic and geographical features that influence where the boundary of the DEPZ lies, as well as technical assessments. These principles allow ONR to look beyond the technical assessment of the hazards on site and also consider local practical and geographical issues in the operation of the off-site plan. We would expect future DEPZ to be irregular in shape rather than the current circular zones drawn around each licenced site, taking into account issues such as postcode boundaries and nearby towns and villages.

What does this mean for our client? On 25th April 2014, ONR determined a revised Emergency Planning Zone around Sizewell nuclear site. In accordance with the new principles; the emergency planning area was revised from a circular 2.4 km zone around the site, to a boundary of approximately 2 to 3 km, based largely on postcodes, but enhanced to include Leiston and the majority of the adjoining village of Aldringham.

ONR has written to Suffolk County Council (the relevant authority) and Magnox and EDF (operators of Sizewell A and B respectively) advising them of its decision. The council will now need to revise its off-site emergency plan in consultation with the other responders to ensure that robust arrangements are in place as appropriate. The revised plan will then be published on the Suffolk Resilience website.

The on-site and countermeasure provisions of the licensee, and the off-site emergency plan put in place by Suffolk County Council would be complemented by wider food restrictions as determined by the Food Standards Agency in accordance with Food and Environment Protection Act 1985.

For further information, including a Zone map, please see; http://news.onr.org.uk/2014/04/sizewell-off-site-emergency-planning-area/