New permit for Sellafield as discharge levels drop

Sellafield Image copyright PA
Image caption Reprocessing of spent fuel at the site is drawing to an end

Sellafield will see a reduction in radioactive discharges in the coming years, meaning a new licence is needed for the Cumbria site.

The nuclear reprocessing plant releases liquids and gases into the environment which are regulated by the Environment Agency.

As reprocessing is winding down, the company has applied for a new permit reflecting the lower discharge levels.

The plant will also shift its focus from reprocessing to decommissioning.

Large parts of the Sellafield plant were built to reprocess used fuel so that some elements could be reused. But the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant, known as THORP, stopped operating in November 2018.

Another plant, called Magnox, is expected to be wound up by the end of 2020.

A public consultation on the new permit is under way, and people have until 1 December to put forward their views.

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