SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
8.10 We recommend that the Government should develop
a fully comprehensive policy for the long-term management of all
nuclear waste. The policy should have explicit endorsement by
Parliament, as well as a large measure of public acceptance (para
8.11 The policy has to be the subject of wide-ranging
consultation. The Government should issue a Green Paper which
states the problem, the possible solutions and the principal means
for implementation of that policy, including, for deep repositories,
the site selection process. The consultation on the Green Paper
should involve as many sections of the public as is feasible.
At the end of it the Government should publish a White Paper and
report the results to Parliament. There should then be a Bill
to establish the policy and the institutional framework for implementing
it (para 6.54).
8.12 We recommend that a new organisation be set
up to oversee the implementation of policy. This should be a "Nuclear
Waste Management Commission", which is outside day-to-day
government and which has authority and permanence. The workings
of the Commission should be as open as possible. There would be
advantages in setting up the Commission initially in a non-statutory
way and giving it the task of consultation on a comprehensive
policy. The Bill which establishes the policy should give the
Commission powers of oversight (para 6.55).
8.13 If, as we think it should, a phased approach
to geological disposal is adopted, another new organisation should
be set up with the remit to design, construct, operate and eventually
close the repository (or repositories), conducting R&D as
necessary. The organisation should monitor the repository and
should be able, if necessary to retrieve the waste. This "Radioactive
Waste Disposal Company" should be a nuclear industry organisation
(including the Ministry of Defence), which needs approval from
the Commission for its work programme and which works in an open
way (para 6.57).
8.14 When there is agreement on the national strategy
a comprehensive research programme should be set out, linked to
milestones in the development of facilities. The Commission should
be responsible for co-ordinating all United Kingdom research on
the long-term management of nuclear waste and should take over
this role during the consultation period. The safety standards
for repositories should be revised and expanded as research and
development proceeds (paras 4.52 and 6.59).
8.15 The process of selecting a repository site (or
sites, if more than one repository is needed) should be open and
transparent, and should involve Parliament and Government. The
Commission should oversee the Company's selection of the preferred
site or sites. The Company's site choice should be debated in
Parliament and examined at public inquiry. The final decision
should be made by the Secretary of State (para 6.60).
8.16 The Commission should be financed by means of
a segregated fund, derived from a levy on the whole nuclear industry
(civil and defence). The Commission should consult those concerned
about the desirability and practicability of funding repository
development, operation and closure in a similar way, and make
recommendations to Government (para 6.61).
8.17 When the Commission is set up some changes should
be made to regulatory arrangements. The Environment Agency should
be given a new statutory power over the storage of wastes on nuclear
licensed sites. Efforts to bring all Ministry of Defence sites
under the full civilian regulatory regime should be intensified
and the Government should bring forward a timetable for achieving
this objective (para 6.62).
8.18 For the present, Nirex should be maintained,
but when the Commission and the Company are established its roles
should be subsumed by them. When the Commission is set up RWMAC
should be disbanded (para 6.58).
8.19 Small users of radioactive materials should
commission a study of the options for management of the limited
quantities of short-lived ILW they produce. They should then propose
their preferred option to regulators and Government (para 4.53).
8.20 Plans should be made for the establishment of
a new LLW disposal facility, to open before Drigg closes. The
Government should also consider alternatives to landfill disposal
of less active LLW and produce a national policy that is accepted
by all concerned (para 4.54).
8.21 When policy consultation is complete, and if
the chosen policy is phased geological disposal, this country
should take a lead in discussions on international regional repositories
and offer help to those countries that need, but lack the resources,
to develop them (para 6.63).
8.22 We recommend that the Government should develop
a clear policy for management of the United Kingdom's stock of
separated plutonium. Our view is that this policy should be the
maintenance of the minimum strategic stock, and the declaration
of the remainder as waste (para 7.50).
8.23 The Government should re-examine the policy
on waste substitution, in the light of our recommendations and
the 11th report of the House of Commons Trade and Industry Committee
8.24 We recommend that the Government acts without
delay. The programme for repository development is a long one
and cannot be rushed. Delay in starting the programme entails
risks and additional costs which an early start to policy development
and implementation would avoid (para 6.64).