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The Radiation Emergency Preparedness and Public Information Regulations 2001 (REPPIR) requires the local authority to prepare a detailed off-site emergency plan for use in the event of a radiation emergency. A radiation emergency is defined in REPPIR as any event (above a specific frequency) likely to result in any member of the public being exposed to ionising radiations in excess of the levels set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations. The levels are described as 5milliSievert (mSv) over the year immediately following a radiation emergency.
The purpose of the plan is to ensure public safety so far as reasonably practicable and to describe the arrangements to prevent or restrict exposure of radiation within the zone, now referred to as ‘off-site emergency planning areas’, covered by the plan.
The zones are decided by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and are currently three kilometres from the centre of the AWE Aldermaston site and one and a half kilometres from the centre of AWE Burghfield.
In January 2014, the ONR published revised standards for establishing the emergency planning zones around all nuclear licensed sites in the UK. Their determination for the AWE sites is expected in the new year.
As the licensee and operator of the sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield, AWE has submitted its assessment reports for both sites.
AWE’s Report of Assessment for the Aldermaston site concludes that, should a radiation emergency occur, the impact would extend to 1.925 kilometres from the centre of the zone, which is well within the current limit of the zone set by the ONR.
AWE’s assessment for the Burghfield site concludes that should a radiation emergency occur, the impact could extend to 976m from the centre of the zone which is, again, well within the limit of the zone set by the ONR.
AWE is committed to the safety of both its staff and members of the public and has worked with the ONR to ensure their safety at all times.
This plan includes mechanisms for assessing the actual and potential consequences of any emergency, on site actions to mitigate those consequences, and for notifying the authorities responsible for activation of the West Berkshire Off Site Emergency Plan.
Full copies of AWE’s Reports of Assessment for the Aldermaston and Burghfield sites are available in Public Information Leaflets.
While the latest assessments indicate that the zones are similar than those currently in place, it is for the ONR to decide if any change is necessary.