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7 May 2013, 17:03
The emergency planning zone around the Sizewell nuclear power stations in Suffolk could be extended to include more homes.
The Suffolk Resilience Forum has reported the results of a public consultation on new Sizewell A and B emergency planning proposals.
Residents, local groups, town and parish councils were represented among the responses received. Overall, people supported the proposals which take into account concurrent national work being completed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.
The consultation proposed the following changes:
Extending the detailed emergency planning zone from its current 2.4km to 4km, in line with new international guidelines. Residents who live in this area would receive regular information on emergency actions and would be the first priority in the unlikely event of an incident at the site.
Setting up a precautionary emergency planning zone up to 15kms to improve awareness of emergency planning arrangements to this wider area and allow prompt extension of any emergency response in more extreme situations.
Increasing capacity for evacuation, rest centres and radiation monitoring.
Asking residents for their views on the best way of receiving information on actions to take in the event of an incident.
Widening the list of pre-identified vulnerable groups who might be evacuated in the surrounding area to include play groups and residential care homes.
After careful review and collation of the responses, the Suffolk Resilience Forum has produced a report detailing the public comments which can be found at www.suffolkresilience.com
The Office for Nuclear Regulation is currently reviewing national policy around emergency planning zones and the Suffolk Resilience Forum will be taking the opportunity to align the remaining Sizewell emergency plan work with this important national regulatory activity.
The Suffolk Resilience Forum is due to receive confirmation of any revised Detailed Emergency Planning Zone in the next couple of months, which will then allow it to confirm changes to the Sizewell Off Site Emergency Plan. This will be available, on the Suffolk Resilience Forum website, in draft for any further comments by the end of July.
A final decision will be taken in August with the aim of issuing an updated plan, together with any implementation timelines for changes, at the beginning of September 2013.
Suffolk is the first county to consider changes to civil nuclear off-site emergency plans since the release of the Fukushima report. This is being done as part of a routine three-yearly review of the plan for how emergency services, councils and other agencies would respond to an incident at the site.
Andy Fry is Suffolk County Council’s director of public protection and represents the county council on the Suffolk Resilience Forum – the partnership responsible for agreeing Sizewell emergency arrangements. The forum includes local councils, emergency services, local health authorities and the Environment Agency.
Andy said: “I’m happy with the number of responses received throughout the consultation process. In overall terms, the comments received have strongly supported our proposals and some interesting observations have also been made.
“The consultation process is about ensuring that we provide the best possible safety arrangements in the extremely unlikely event of an emergency situation. A key part of this was to invite residents and other stakeholders to have their say, which they have done in significant numbers and I am thankful for all comments received.
“I would again like to reassure residents that these proposals do not mean that they are at any greater risk – in fact they are at lower risk because the Sizewell A station is no longer in operation generating electricity.
“I am proud that Suffolk is on the leading front, and the first county to consider these changes since the release of the Fukushima report.”