Imperial College Reactor Centre

We helped our client prepare for the decommissioning phase by producing a BAT procedure and assessment that would enable them to optimise their waste management operations.

Imperial College Reactor Centre

Hydrock's nuclear management consultancy business was appointed by Imperial College Reactor Centre following a detailed inspection by the Environment Agency of its radioactive waste management arrangements.

The Imperial College Reactor Centre site near Ascot, which provided facilities for teaching and research in many fields of nuclear science and technology, was closed in 2012 following a decline in demand. With the site currently in a transitional state between reactor operations and the decommissioning phase, we were asked to develop a best practice procedure for carrying out radioactive waste assessments – known in the industry as ‘best available techniques’ (BAT) assessments.

Our procedure, which took into consideration guidance from the Nuclear Industry Code of Practice, set out the regulatory context and expectations for BAT assessments in the UK and provided a practical framework for our client to carry out such assessments in the future.

The procedure that we developed is designed to support BAT assessments of both current and future radioactive waste management at the site, including those which will be produced during the decommissioning phase.

Our BAT procedure has subsequently been incorporated into the client’s management system and has been positively received by the Environment Agency.

Ahead of the decommissioning phase, Hydrock was also asked to carry out a BAT assessment in relation to the current radioactive waste produced at the site and to report on its findings.

Drawing on the specialist radioactive waste management and regulatory knowledge of our nuclear consultants, we provided an open and transparent report of the BAT assessment, which was carried out in accordance with the procedure we had already developed for our client.

Our assessment established justification for the continued use of the transfer and disposal routes for the small amounts of solid, aqueous and gaseous radioactive waste produced by the site. As part of this process we investigated our client’s management arrangements, roles and responsibilities, key decisions and environmental compliance, with the findings supporting the case being made.   

Completed in August 2015, our BAT procedure and subsequent BAT assessment succeeded in meeting our client’s needs, accurately reflecting expectations in terms of both regulatory and industry best practice guidance.