UK nuclear industry groups have worked together to produce guidance on how to select the best available technique for the management of generation and disposal of radioactive wastes.
UK regulations require that contractors dealing with radwaste can demonstrate that they have selected the best available technique to keep dose rates to the public as low as reasonably achievable.
Evaluating which technique to use, and what constitutes ALARA, can be difficult. Although generally one might think that contractors would use a cost/benefit approach, the rules are biased more toward protection than costs, the document says. "Guidance and precedent make clear that practicable measures to further reduce health, safety and environmental impacts can be ruled out as not reasonable only if the money, time, trouble or other costs involved would be “grossly disproportionate” to the benefit," it says.
"It is emphasised that there is no single ‘right way’ to identify BAT; although all studies will be based on information, verified where practicable, and documented for transparency. BAT may be established by reference to previous studies, or as an independent comparison of detriments and benefits. The general rule is that the level of effort expended to identify and implement BAT should be proportionate to the scale of the issue to be resolved...
"Whichever approach is adopted the process, and any underpinning constraints of assumptions, must be documented and justified.
"Key to a robust BAT assessment is to demonstrate a thorough consideration of available options. Once all options have been identified, a high-level screening should be applied to identify non-viable options and thus, by elimination, identify a short-list of options that can credibly satisfy the objective. Stakeholder input, broadening the basis of experience available, may be helpful where larger projects are involved.
The group that wrote the document is the Nuclear Industry Safety Directors' Forum.
The guidance document is available to download by clicking on the right; alternatively it is offered on www.rwbestpractice.co.uk.