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Urenco UK Ltd, Capenhurst

The Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019, require local authorities to plan for mitigating the consequences of an off-site radiation emergency. To this end the Council produces an off-site emergency plan for the licensed nuclear facility, Urenco UK Ltd at Capenhurst near Chester.

This off-site plan is in addition to Urenco's own on-site emergency plan and is developed by the local authority working with a number of organisations including the emergency services, health organisations and Urenco UK. The plan is designed to protect the public and environment from any radiation emergency which may have off-site consequences.

An incident at Urenco UK Limited may cause an increased risk to public health and require specific protective actions to be put into place by the emergency services. Urenco UK Ltd Limited is regulated by the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019 and the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015. A range of information been produced to help you understand what might happen if an incident occurs.

Determining the Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ)

Cheshire West and Chester Council is required to determine the Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ) for Urenco UK Ltd. The DEPZ was previously determined by the Office for Nuclear Regulation. The DEPZ is a defined zone around the site where it is proportionate to pre-define protective actions which would be implemented without delay to mitigate the most likely consequences of a radiation emergency.

The revised DEPZ was agreed by the Council on 3 June 2020 and is based upon the recommendations contained within the Urenco UK Ltd Consequences Report. The justification and decision reached in the revised DEPZ can be viewed in the Determination Report.

Urenco UK Ltd is required to assess potential hazards from working with ionising radiation which have the potential to cause a radiation emergency. This information is used to evaluate a full range of consequences and the conclusions of this evaluation are provided to the local authority in a Consequence Report.

A letter and calendar has been sent to all those who live and work within the DEPZ explaining the protective actions members of the DEPZ may need to take in the event of an emergency.

Safety advice for residents

Your questions answered

A REPPIR detailed emergency planning zone is the area around a nuclear site where the local authority is required to have a plan in place for protecting the public in the event of an off-site nuclear emergency. Under the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019 (REPPIR), the local authority has the statutory duty to set the detailed emergency planning zone for sites in this area where there is a risk that an accident could lead to an off-site release of radiation.

Under the previous regulations, REPPIR 2001, it was the responsibility of the Office for Nuclear Regulation to determine detailed emergency planning zones around licensed nuclear sites in the UK. In the case of Urenco UK, Capenhurst this was circular area of 1km around the site. Urenco UK were required to provide prior public safety information to residents within the detailed emergency planning zone and did so beyond the 1km distance, to avoid cutting through the nearby residential area.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is now responsible for determining the detailed emergency planning zone. The zone must be based on a minimum distance described in the operator's Consequence Report.

In defining the boundary of the detailed emergency planning zone, geographic features should be used for ease of implementing the local authority's off-site emergency plan. Physical features such as roads, rivers, railways or footpaths should be considered as well as political or postcode boundaries.

The change to the detailed emergency planning zone have been made in the interests of public protection and safety. The new detailed emergency planning zone allows for better emergency management of the area and will ensure enhanced arrangements are put in place to protect vulnerable groups and the general public around the site.

No, the risk at the site remains the same. The changes to the area are part of the process of improving the existing off-site emergency planning arrangements under REPPIR 19.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has proportionately applied the principles as detailed in REPPIR 19 Regulation 8 to shape the boundaries of the detailed emergency planning zone.

Nuclear site operators have arrangements in place to respond to any accident or emergency arising on the site. The operator’s arrangements complement the wider emergency plan that the local authority has in place for the detailed emergency planning zone and outline planning zone.

The Determination Report prepared by the Council is available on this website. The report explains how the off-site emergency planning area decisions are made.

People living with the detailed emergency planning zone are provided with appropriate safety advice. This information is provided in the calendar provided annually to residents within the detailed emergency planning zone.

Outline Planning Zone

Urenco UK Ltd has an Outline Planning Zone, which is a new concept under REPPIR 2019. This is a 5km radius from the centre of the site. Outline planning supplements detailed planning providing mitigation against very low probability events potentially not considered in the design of the site.

Outline Planning Zone

Further Information

If you require further information regarding any of this information, please contact:

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