Low Level Waste Strategy

Low Level Waste (LLW): unlike HLW and ILW, LLW does not normally require shielding during handling or transport. It tends to consist largely of paper, plastics and scrap metal items which have been used in hospitals, research establishments and the nuclear industry. As the decommissioning of nuclear power stations progresses, it will also include increasing amount of soil, concrete and steel.

Nuclear LLW in the UK Is managed by LLWR Ltd. They operate the national Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) near Drigg in Cumbria. The LLWR has limited space and in recent years over 80% of LLW has been diverted from disposal at the LLWR and instead managed in a variety of ways including incineration or recovery for reuse or for recycling. Other LLW such as rubble and soil from decommissioning nuclear sites can be sent to certain landfill sites which hold appropriate permits and are regulated by the Environment Agency. Sellafield and Dounreay operate their own LLW disposal facilities and the NDA is looking at the potential for some VLLW to be left in-situ at other decommissioning sites.

This section of the website provides links to useful information for those local authorities dealing with proposals for disposal or storage of LLW.

Government strategy

In 2016, following public consultation, an updated ‘Strategy for the Long Term Management of Solid Low Level Radioactive Waste in the United Kingdom’ was published by UK governments. The Strategy builds on the original policy produced by NDA in 2007 and sets out the framework for management of LLW.

Regulation


The Environment Agency (EA) has produced full guidance on the requirements for authorisation for prospective developers of disposal facilities for radioactive wastes, and a shorter guidance note regarding the disposal of waste to landfill. Information on how applications will be processed and current applications can be viewed on the EA website.

Planning

NuLeAF encourages waste producers to enter into early dialogue with Waste Planning Authorities (WPAs). National Planning Policy Framework Planning Practice Guidance says that Local Authorities should plan for the sustainable management of waste including Low Level Radioactive Waste. NuLeAF’s views on current planning policy can be found in Briefing Paper 23.

NuLeaF has gathered together a number of local authority reports relating to planning permissions for LLW facilities. These are published in the Document Library. You will also find there Case Studies on the proposed disposal facility at Springfields, Clifton Marsh landfill site and on Vault 9 at the Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR).

Radioactive Waste Planning Group


A group of officers from NuLeAF member authorities meets regularly to discuss topical issues and feed into NuLeAF strategy and work. Details of meetings can be found here. To participate in the group, please contact the secretariat.

Further information or advice

If any local authority would like further information or advice on aspects of LLW management, please contact the NuLeAF secretariat.

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