Berkeley is the first commercial nuclear power station in the UK to be decommissioned.
In December the station moved its reactor buildings into a state the licensee calls ‘safestore’ for around 60 years, which is to allow irradiated parts of the station to decay naturally to a safer state, preceding final site clearance and environmental restoration of the site.
Movement into this stage of the decommissioning process has provided HSE Nuclear Directorate (ND) with the opportunity to assess the future use of safestores, at those decommissioning sites that present more challenges than Berkeley.
Deputy chief inspector Colin Patchett said: “We’re satisfied that Magnox has reduced the hazard on site, but there are still aspects of the safestore and issues at the site, for example the removal of radioactive waste from on-site vaults, where we will continue to seek progress from the licensee.”
During the build up to the development at Berkeley, ND carried out assessment and inspection of the facility and the licensee’s proposals. In addition ND reviewed the operational history of the site, its site inspections and 10-yearly periodic safety reviews.
“We have reviewed and inspected the activities carried out by Magnox in reaching this point. This has given us the confidence that the work was being conducted well and that their plans would lead to the hazard being reduced. This is ultimately what we’re here to ensure.”
Berkeley is operated by Magnox on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.