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ONR have today published their intention to investigate AWE’s failure to comply with a legal licence instrument. This relates to the storage of intermediate level waste (ILW).
Since 1999 two Licence Instruments (LI) relating to ILW management have been placed on AWE by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). The more recent and currently extant LI, LI511, was issued in March 2007.
AWE commenced the planning and design of a facility to carry out these operations at the Aldermaston site soon after the issue of the license instrument. However, in 2011, the company reached the view that the proposed option was unlikely to be the best overall solution to the ILW problem in the context of the company’s overall waste strategy, and therefore discontinued its work on the volume reduction and encapsulation project.
In August 2011, AWE plc informed the ONR that it would not be able to meet the terms of the LI by the due date. Since then, AWE plc has remained in dialogue with the ONR and worked closely with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and other organisations that hold nuclear site licences similar to ours, to find an appropriate long term solution.
AWE remains committed to managing our waste in a safe and compliant manner. The ONR has recognised that this issue relates to the medium and long term management of ILW, and that the current conditions in which the waste is stored are acceptable. It does not give rise to significant risk to the public or the AWE workforce.
We continuously work to further improve our environmental performance in all aspects of our operations and processes as this is core to delivering a safe and secure site.
Notes to Editors: