Management of radioactive substances at nuclear sites regulatory position

A temporary regulatory position statement to support the management of radioactive substances at nuclear sites during the COVID-19 public health emergency has been developed for sites in Scotland.

SEPA expects people to have business continuity arrangements in place to ensure compliance with their SEPA permit or other environmental regulatory requirements during EU Exit and COVID-19. As SEPA responds to the impacts of the cyber-attack we will provide updates on our service status and support businesses. We are clear we expect everyone we regulate to continue to comply with Scotland’s environmental laws.

Where compliance with a SEPA Permit or other regulatory requirement is not possible for an individual site(s), a type of activity or for a sector, we may temporarily take a regulatory position that any failure to comply with those requirements will not be treated as a non-compliance for compliance assessment or enforcement purposes. This will be where that non-compliance is unavoidable and solely as a direct result of the impact of EU Exit or COVID-19 and will not lead to significant environmental harm.

We are only likely to consider taking a temporary regulatory position if the person contacts us at an early stage to advise us of a non-compliance or potential non-compliance, and we are satisfied that:

  • they have taken all reasonable steps to try and maintain compliance;
  • they will adequately manage any risks of harm to the environment or human health arising from the non- compliance.

If we take a temporary regulatory position we expect the person to:

  1. Tell us as soon as possible when they have, or will, become non-compliant;
  2. Comply with conditions attached to a temporary regulatory position
  3. Continue to meet all other Permit conditions or other environmental regulatory requirements not covered by a temporary regulatory position
  4. Return to compliance as quickly as possible. Any temporary regulatory position we take is likely to be time limited (normally to three months) but if the person can return to compliance quicker we will expect them to do so;
  5. Prevent and mitigate harm to the environment or human health;
  6. Follow the waste hierarchy in making waste management decisions and when waste is sent for re-use, recycling or disposal send it to a suitably authorised site.

SEPA expects people to have business continuity arrangements in place to ensure compliance with their SEPA permit or other environmental regulatory requirements during EU Exit and COVID-19.  We are clear we expect everyone we regulate to continue to comply with Scotland’s environmental laws. 

Where compliance with a SEPA Permit or other regulatory requirement is not possible for an individual site(s), a type of activity or for a sector, we may temporarily take a regulatory position that any failure to comply with those requirements will not be treated as a non-compliance for compliance assessment or enforcement purposes. This will be where that non-compliance is unavoidable and solely as a direct result of the impact of EU Exit or COVID-19 and will not lead to significant environmental harm.

SEPA is responsible for the regulation of radioactive discharges and radioactive waste disposal from nuclear and other sites. The safe operation of nuclear sites is primarily the responsibility of the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

We have created a temporary regulatory position statement that applies to authorisations for the management of radioactive substances on nuclear sites in Scotland, which includes Ministry of Defence sites and the Dounreay Low Level Waste Facility. This also applies to authorisations for the management of radioactive substances held by tenants located on nuclear sites during the during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Management of radioactive substances at nuclear sites regulatory position

Contact information

Let us know as soon as possible if you think that you may not be able to comply with the conditions of your authorisation.

You should advise both your site inspector, by normal routes, and email using using our online contact form, with details of the circumstances and any alternative arrangements that you are putting in place in accordance with standard condition A9.