Torness aiming to store more nuclear waste

Torness power station in East Lothian is operated by EDF Energy
Torness power station in East Lothian is operated by EDF Energy

Torness nuclear power station operator EDF Energy is seeking permission to store radioactive waste on the site from other power stations.

Public consultation on the plans opens this month, prior to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) making a decision on whether to allow EDF Energy to “receive radioactive waste from other EDF power stations for the purpose of interim storage, loading of containers and onward transfer”.

An EDF spokesman said: “This change is purely a practical one to facilitate more flexible disposals by allowing waste to be collected temporarily at one site before being sent for disposal

The Office for Nuclear Regulation, which oversees nuclear regulation in the UK, has indicated that it has no objections to the proposals to deal with the disposal of waste from Torness and Hunterston nuclear power station in North Ayrshire.

An ONR spokesperson said: Any shipments of waste between Torness and Hunterston are required to be carried out in full compliance with regulations covering the transport of radioactive material.”

The Scottish Government say there would be no long-term storage of waste transferred between sites a spokesman adding: “Any inter-site transfers that might take place would have to be handled carefully.”

EDF confirmed that the radioactive waste would be transported by road,

East Lothian Greens campaigner Jason Rose is appalled at what is being proposed and said: “EDF put in their application to SEPA eight months ago. It’s not good enough that most local people are only learning about it now.

“Buried within the SEPA consultation is EDF’s intention - to allow for accumulation of what they call economic loads prior to disposal. In other words, the company is looking to cut the cost of managing the radioactive waste it generates.

““SEPA say it will reach its decision based on responses from the public, so it’s important people make their views known. They also say they’ll consider government policy, for the volume and activity of nuclear waste to be minimised, along with the risk of exposure. Trucking this material around the country doesn’t strike me as in keeping with those aims.”