27 October 2007

Trends to watch: Radioactive Waste Management Committees

Reconstituted Committee on Radioactive Waste Management

(Media-Newswire.com) - Environment Minister Phil Woolas today welcomed the appointment of the reconstituted Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM ).

The reconstituted Committee will play a key role in scrutinising Government�s and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's ( NDA ) plans for the long term management, including interim storage and disposal, of radioactive waste. It will provide ongoing independent advice to UK Government and devolved administrations.

The UK Government, in conjunction with the devolved administrations of Wales and Northern Ireland, is currently consulting on how implementation of geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste could be taken forward and the consultation re-emphasises the commitment to ensure strong independent scrutiny of proposals, plans and programmes to deliver this.

Minister Phil Woolas said

The announcement today sets in place one of the key pillars for the planning, development and implementation of geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste that of robust independent scrutiny and advice - and fulfils one of the commitments given in our response to the original CoRWM recommendations.

With a strengthened scientific and technical make up I am confident that the reconstituted Committee will continue the high standards of evidence-based advice, founded on openness, transparency and engagement, set by its predecessor.

Initially, the Committee will consist of the Chair and 12 members. Given the need for the strongest possible Committee, Ministers have decided to re-advertise for specific expertise in hydrogeology and civil engineering/underground construction technology as these areas will be central to development of storage and disposal facilities.

Appointments will be for a duration of three years and are made in accordance with the OCPA Code of Practice. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity ( if any declared ) to be made public. All appointees declared no political activity.

Remuneration is450 per day for the Chair, with a commitment of on average 1 days per week, and 300 per day for members with an average time commitment of 1 day per week

The full committee is:

Professor Robert Pickard ( Chair )
Professor Robert Pickard is Chairman of the Consumers' Association Which?, Director-General of the British Nutrition Foundation, Emeritus Professor of Neurobiology at the University of Cardiff, Visiting Professor at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, and Fellow of the Institute of Biology and the Royal Society of Medicine. For the Department of Health and the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, Professor Pickard is also Chairman of the national NGO Forum, which facilitates the interface between government policymakers and 94 NGOs working for health improvements. He is an international authority on the biology of honeybees and pioneered the development of solid-state, neural microbiosensors in the UK.

David Broughton
David Broughton is a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Recently retired from UKAEA he worked at Dounreay, Caithness from 1981. He has 26 years experience in professional engineering and management of complex nuclear projects.

He was responsible for Dounreay's major radioactive waste management projects. These included new low level waste disposal facilities, new intermediate level waste encapsulation and storage facilities, the future retrieval of waste from the Dounreay shaft and the current shaft isolation project. He is experienced in both engaging stakeholders in projects that have many options and technical issues to consider, and guiding projects through the regulatory and planning processes.

Margaret Burns
Margaret Burns is a part-time teaching fellow in the Law Department of the University of Aberdeen. She was a member of the Health and Safety Commission for nine years, representing the public interest and the devolved administrations. As a Commissioner she chaired HSC's Rail Industry Advisory Committee and the Partnership for Health and Safety in Scotland and had particular responsibility for the offshore oil industry and the nuclear industry. In 2003 she was awarded the CBE for services to health and safety. She has extensive experience of working with consumer organisations, such as the Scottish Consumer Council and Consumers' Association, and is presently a member of the National Consumer Council's Advisory Group.

Professor Brian D Clark
Brian Clark is Professor of Environmental Management and Planning at Aberdeen University. He is a Board Member of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA ), Chairman of the North Region Board and the Planning & Finance Committee of SEPA and served on the first Committee for Radioactive Waste Management. With forty years experience, he is a specialist in environmental impact assessment ( EIA ), strategic environmental assessment ( SEA ) and urban and rural planning. Honoured in 1987 by being made a founder member of UNEP's Global 500 Award. He is a governor of The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and was a founder member of the Institute of Environmental Assessment ( IEA ), now the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment ( IEMA ) and chairs its Technical Committee.

Dr Mark Dutton
Mark Dutton served on the first Committee for Radioactive Waste Management. He has a doctorate in high energy physics and a 38 year career based at the National Nuclear Corporation. Specialising in design and safety case issues associated with radiological protection, nuclear safety and radioactive waste management he continues to work as a nuclear consultant. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Nuclear Engineers, co-author to two Safety Guides published by the International Atomic Energy Agency of the UN and has reviewed the safety of reactors in Iran and Pakistan on behalf of the Agency. He is a member of the Defence Nuclear Safety Committee of the Ministry of Defence and a member of the Presidential Nuclear Safety Committee of Armenia.

Professor Fergus Gibb
Fergus Gibb is Professor of Petrology & Geochemistry in the Department of Engineering Materials, University of Sheffield with over 40 years lecturing & research experience in mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry. A specialist on igneous intrusions, he is a Former Vice-President of the Mineralogical Society and an Elected Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America. A long-standing interest in the geological disposal of nuclear wastes has led to over 25 papers and national and international recognition as an authority on deep borehole disposal. Professor Gibb is employed by the University of Sheffield. His current post is part funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on the strength of potential strategic importance of the research work involved but the conduct of this work is independent of the NDA and the nuclear industry.

Professor Simon Harley
Simon Harley is Professor of Lower Crustal Processes in the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh. An international expert on the evolution of continental crust, his research integrates geological mapping with experimental and microanalytical studies of the stabilities of minerals and their behaviour at high temperatures and pressures. He has conducted geological mapping projects in diverse and complex basement areas in Australia, India, Norway, Greenland, Scotland and Antarctica. Professor Harley is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and in 2002 was awarded the Imperial Polar Medal in recognition of his contributions to Antarctic Earth Science.

Marion Hill
Marion Hills early career was at the National Radiological Protection Board ( now part of the Health Protection Agency ) and most recently a background in consultancy. She has over 30 years experience in standards for and assessments of the radiological impact of the nuclear industry on the public and the environment. She specialises in policies, strategies and standards for the management of radioactive wastes and radioactively contaminated land. Her experience includes national and international work on policy and regulatory topics, and environmental impact assessments for nuclear installations in the UK and overseas. She is a member of the Health and Safety Commissio's Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee (NuSAC ) and is leader of its regulatory framework task force.

Professor William Lee
Professor Bill Lee is Head of Materials at Imperial College London. He has a Physical Metallurgy BSc from Aston, a DPhil in Radiation Damage Studies from Oxford and has held academic positions in the USA ( Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland and Ohio State University ) and UK notably at Sheffield University where he was Director of BNFLs University Research Alliance on Waste Immobilisation. He has over 300 publications including An Introduction to Nuclear Waste Immobilisation ( Elsevier, 2005 ). He is a member of the International Commission on Glass Technical Committee on Nuclear and Hazardous Waste Vitrification and Chair of the International Ceramic Federation Technical Committee on Ceramics in Nuclear Applications. He is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and of the Institute of Materials.

Professor Francis Livens
Francis Livens has held a radiochemistry position at the University of Manchester since 1991. He worked for over 25 years in environmental radioactivity and actinide chemistry, starting his career with the Natural Environment Research Council, where he was involved in the response to the Chernobyl accident. At the University of Manchester, he has worked in many aspects of nuclear fuel cycle research, including effluent treatment, waste immobilisation and actinide chemistry. He was the founding director of the Centre for Radiochemistry Research, established in Manchester in 1999, and has acted as an advisor to the nuclear industry both in the UK and overseas.

Leslie Netherton
With over 30 years local government experience, Leslie Netherton, specialised in health and safety, food safety, environmental protection and emergency planning. As Head of Service with Plymouth City Council from 1998-2007 he had responsibility for civil protection, waste management, cemeteries, building control, consumer protection, sustainability and environmental health. As lead Authority officer for the nuclear submarine refitting facility at Devonport Royal Dockyard, he was involved with major planning applications, Discharge Consent consultations, offsite emergency planning and extensive stakeholder engagement. He is Chair of Interim Storage Of Laid Up Submarines ( ISOLUS ) project Advisory Group and sits on the Ministry of Defence ISOLUS Steering Group. He currently runs an environmental health consultancy company and has been an active member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

John Rennilson
With over 37 years experience in local government planning, John Rennilson is Director of Planning & Development at the Highland Council. He was County Planning Officer of North Yorkshire County Council ( 1984-1996 ) and has extensive experience of planning issues at a strategic level and of balancing development needs with public concerns. An Executive Committee Member of the Scottish Society of Directors of Planning he also chaired the Society from 2000 to 2001.

Professor Lynda Warren
Lynda Warren is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Law at Aberystwyth University and a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. She has postgraduate degrees in marine biology and law and has pursued an academic career first in biology and latterly in environmental law. She has over 100 academic publications, including a number on radioactive waste management law and policy. Lynda has 15 years experience of radioactive waste management policy. She was a member of previous CoRWM and, before that, a member of RWMAC chairing its working group on Dounreay. She is currently a member of SEPA's Dounreay Particles Advisory Group and an associate of IDM, a consultancy engaged in environmental policy advisor, mainly in the nuclear sector.

Editors' Notes
1. The UK Government and the devolved administrations set up the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management ( CoRWM ) in November 2003. The Committee's remit was to review the options for the long term management of high and intermediate level radioactive wastes in the UK and to recommend the option or combination of options that can provide a long term solution. The Committee announced an integrated package of recommendations on 31 July 2006. The terms of appointment of its membership will expire in August 2007.

2. The Government�s response to CoRWM's recommendations on 25 October 2006 accepted the primary recommendation on geological disposal and its recommendations for safe and secure interim storage. It also committed to a reconstituted CoRWM with modified terms of reference and stated that planning and development of the geological disposal option would be based on four key pillars:

a strong and effective implementing organisation, with clear responsibilities and accountabilities;
strong independent regulation by the statutory regulators - the Health and Safety Executive, the environment agencies and the Office for Civil Nuclear Security;
independent scrutiny and advice to Government on implementation; and
a partnership with the host community.

3. The UK Government and the Welsh and Northern Ireland devolved administrations are currently consulting ( closes on 2nd November 2007 ) on a framework for the long term management of higher activity radioactive waste. This is set out in the consultation document entitled Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: a Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal that includes the terms of reference for the reconstituted Committee as an annex.

4. CoRWM's sponsoring Ministers will be from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the devolved administrations, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Appointments are made following the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments ( OCPA ) Code of Practice and, as Chair Designate, Professor Pickard played a full part in the appointment of members.

5. The reconstituted CoRWM will not be representative of organisation or sectoral interests and the skills and expertise which will need to be available to the Committee will vary depending on the programme of work.

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