Guidance on Requirements for Release of Nuclear Sites from Radioactive Substances Regulation

Closed 9 May 2016

Opened 15 Feb 2016

Feedback updated 26 Jul 2018

We asked

In February 2016, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Environment Agency, and Natural Resources Wales (together referred to as “the environment agencies”) consulted on proposed new guidance on “Requirements for Release of Nuclear Sites from Radioactive Substances Regulation” (for full details of the original consultation, please see the text against the grey background in the section beginning with "Overview" below).

You said

We received comments from 22 organisations and individuals. 

These comments generally supported the environment agencies’ approach. 

Respondents also provided many suggestions for improving the detailed text of our guidance.

We did

We analysed the consultation comments we received, and produced a report on how we planned to act on these comments (available in the Files section below).

We also carried out a two-year period of trial-use at three different sites:

  • Dounreay in Scotland
  • Trawsfynydd nuclear power station in Wales
  • Winfrith in England

A number of themes emerged from the consultation comments, and the learning from the trial-use period, which prompted us to improve the structure and clarity of our guidance.

However, we did not identify the need for any substantive changes to our approach.

We have now published our new guidance entitled “Management of radioactive waste from decommissioning of nuclear sites: Guidance on Requirements for Release from Radioactive Substances Regulation”, also known as the GRR.  The full text of the GRR is available from:

We have also published a brief non-technical summary of the GRR, which is available from:

Results updated 14 Dec 2016



The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Environment Agency (EA) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW), together referred to as “the environment agencies”, are consulting on our proposed new guidance on “Requirements for Release of Nuclear Sites from Radioactive Substances Regulation”.

This consultation is being managed by SEPA on behalf of all three environment agencies. 

This formal consultation will remain open for 12 weeks, until 9th May 2016.

What are we consulting on?

The environment agencies are consulting on our proposed new guidance:

Guidance on Requirements for Release of Nuclear Sites from

Radioactive Substances Regulation; Consultation Document

February 2016.”

[please click on the title to download our consultation document as a PDF]

We have produced this document to fill an important gap in our current suite of guidance for nuclear sites. Many nuclear sites throughout Great Britain are now being decommissioned. Their operators need guidance on the environment agencies’ standards for the clean-up of decommissioning sites, so that they can be released from our regulatory regime for radioactive substances in a timely and proportionate manner.

Why are we consulting?

We are seeking views from all stakeholders on our proposed new guidance, to ensure that it adequately specifies and explains what nuclear site operators need to do to meet our regulatory requirements when planning and carrying out work in preparation for release of their sites from radioactive substances regulation.

What will we do after the consultation?

After this 12-week formal consultation has closed we will review and report on the comments we have received.  We will consider how to act upon those comments in revising the consultation document.

The consultation document will remain available for a period of trial use and comment, primarily so that practitioners such as nuclear site operators and regulatory officers can put the proposed guidance to the test, and provide us with further suggestions for its improvement.

Publishing the final guidance

In England, the final guidance will be subject to the DEFRA Smarter Guidance project. This means that the guidance in England is likely to be separate from that in Scotland and Wales, and substantially different in style, format and wording from the current consultation document in order to comply with Smarter Guidance requirements. The Environment Agency is therefore consulting on the basis that the proposed approach to surrender and the standards for surrender (the principles and requirements described in the consultation document) will form the substantive content of future guidance. The Environment Agency is not consulting on the basis that the consultation document is a draft form of the eventual guidance in England.

Although the fine detail of radioactive substances policy, legislation and guidance may differ between Scotland, Wales and England, the environment agencies intend to promote and maintain common standards throughout Great Britain for the decommissioning and clean-up of nuclear sites to achieve release from radioactive substances regulation. 


What happens next


The 3-month formal consultation closed on 9th May 2016.  We would like to thank all those who responded.

We will shortly publish a summary of the consultation responses.

We are now considering how to act upon these responses in revising the consultation document.  


  • Local Authorities
  • Industry
  • Public
  • Nuclear Industry
  • Developers
  • EA, SEPA and NRW Staff


  • Water Quality
  • Regulated activities
  • Better regulation
  • Radioactive waste
  • Radioactivity
  • Radiation
  • Remediation
  • Restoration
  • Land quality
  • Contamination