Public hearing on nuclear waste

Devonport Royal Dockyard is having to seek authority to send nuclear submarine waste for disposal following confirmation that it contains a very long-living radioactive element. A public hearing into the application will be held in Plymouth on 21 July. Waste transfer to the Drigg national repository in Cumbria was halted earlier this year when carbon […]

Devonport Royal Dockyard is having to seek authority to send nuclear submarine waste for disposal following confirmation that it contains a very long-living radioactive element.

A public hearing into the application will be held in Plymouth on 21 July.

Waste transfer to the Drigg national repository in Cumbria was halted earlier this year when carbon 14 – a low-energy isotope with a 5,730-year half-life – was found in submarine residues.

Further sampling by AEA Technology revealed C14 in all DDR’s solid waste but at lower levels than initially thought. It had been feared consignments had breached Drigg’s annual limits.

DDR has applied to the Environment Agency to extend its authorisation to include C14. The agency said initial assessment indicated the change would have `no radiological or other implications locally’.