The NDA’s Strategy 4 Consultation
As many of you will know, on 17th August we published our fourth draft strategy for consultation.
The Energy Act (2004) requires the NDA to review and publish its strategy every five years. Our third strategy was published in early April 2016 meaning that Strategy 4 will need to be published by April 2021.
Our strategy provides the framework for delivering our mission on behalf of government. It sets out our strategic direction and long-term objectives and determines how we are going to deliver our policy obligations. As we are working on strategic issues all the time, our strategy can only be a snapshot of the status of our strategic topics at the time of publication. We engage on the individual parts of our strategy as we develop them and periodically publish documents for comment on our website.
As with our previous two published strategies, Strategy 4 follows the format of being split into driving themes and Critical Enablers. The four driving themes are:
- Site Decommissioning & Remediation
- Integrated Waste Management
- Spent Fuels
- Nuclear Materials.
These are supported by a number of topics known as Critical Enablers which enable the delivery of the driving themes.
Strategy 4 highlights
I want to take this opportunity to highlight the key additions and changes in the latest version of our strategy.
We have developed an increased emphasis on our Critical Enabler strategies in Strategy 4.
We continue to deliver the highest standards of health, safety, environmental protection and wellbeing.
There is an increased emphasis on sustainability. We recognise the part we play in sustainable development and are working on our sustainability challenge launching a special project to further develop and implement our sustainability strategy.
We have introduced Security and Resilience and Cyber Security as stand-alone Critical Enablers, reflecting the increased emphasis on these areas since Strategy 3.
With the UK’s exit from the European Union we are developing the NDA’s vision for the management of Safeguards to ensure that our obligations are met.
We are taking a bolder approach to innovation recognising that it is critical to improving costs, schedules and quality. We are making more creative innovation investments and have launched our Grand Challenges for Technical Innovation project, which is aimed at supporting the Nuclear Sector Deal commitment of reducing decommissioning costs.
With the announcement of the termination of the remaining Parent Body Organisation (PBO) contracts at LLWR and Dounreay, all our delivery businesses will become subsidiaries of the NDA and we will be seeking to further increase the interdependence, mutual support and challenge between our businesses in the pursuit of better efficiency and use of the best athlete under the banner of One NDA.
Driving themes progress
For the driving themes, progress continues in all areas.
For Site Decommissioning and Remediation, we have adopted site-specific decommissioning strategies for Magnox sites. This comes after many years’ work investigating the pros and cons of the previous fleetwide Care and Maintenance approach. The new strategy means a rolling programme of decommissioning rather than a blanket strategy of deferral on the reactor sites. Trawsfynydd has been chosen as the lead site for Magnox reactor decommissioning and our colleagues in the Magnox business are working on the detailed implications for all Magnox sites.
We also continue to work on optimising site end states to develop safe, sustainable and publicly acceptable solutions and identifying credible uses for surplus land that could benefit society.
Our strategy for Spent Fuels remains unchanged but, due to Covid-19 disruptions, the completion of all reprocessing will now happen during 2021 rather than the end of 2020 as we previously hoped. Reprocessing remains the most appropriate way of managing the bulk of our remaining Magnox fuel.
For our Nuclear Materials, we continue to ensure their safe, secure and cost-effective lifecycle management with all plutonium now consolidated at Sellafield. We continue to work with government on best way of putting plutonium beyond reach and have a major programme of technological work underway looking into this. In the meantime, we have made major investments in ensuring continued safe and secure storage. The strategy for some of our uranium continues to be conversion to a form best suited for interim storage and all our uranium will be stored pending a route to re-use or a decision on disposal.
Since the publication of Strategy 3, the NDA’s Radioactive Waste Strategy has been developed and published in September 2019. This articulates a single strategy for the management of higher activity waste across the estate and advocates an approach where radioactive wastes are managed according to their properties rather than simply the radioactive waste classification they fall in to. This promotes the use of risk-informed decision making to embed integrated waste management principles. We are also developing a broader range of treatment and disposal options such as thermal treatment and near surface disposal.
Have Your Say
Strategy 4 has been in development since mid-2019 and we have undertaken a significant amount of stakeholder engagement during this time and continue to engage throughout the consultation period. Of course, the world has changed, and we are all getting used to virtual meetings. We are busy ensuring that the global pandemic doesn’t negatively impact our Strategy 4 public consultation by talking to more stakeholders than ever, using virtual means. During the public consultation we have a series of bespoke virtual meetings with groups, and we are also planning a Strategy 4 event later in October.
This document is the NDA’s chance to lay out its overall strategy. In it we say what our current strategy is but also, and, more importantly to my mind, we set out the strategic issues we will be working on over the next five years in the Strategy Development sections. If you would like to talk to us, help shape our future strategy, and feedback your ideas, comments or opinions, then please submit a response to our consultation before 8th November. We look forward to hearing from you soon, have your say here.