Tony Harwood (Resilience and Emergency Planning Manager) was in attendance for this item.
1. Mr M Hill, OBE, (Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services) introduced the report that set out the Revised and updated Radiation Emergency Preparedness and Public Information Regulations (REPPIR) that were published in May 2019 and the new Associated Code of Practice for offsite planning, which required the County Council to comprehensively review and update its offsite plan for Dungeness B Nuclear Power Station. The report presented a summary of how KCC aimed to carry out those duties.
2. Mr Harwood informed the Committee that REPPIR 2019 placed a duty upon upper tier local authorities to ‘make, maintain and test’ at least every 3 years offsite emergency plans for nuclear installations. They further described duties relating to informing the public and to health protection countermeasures which were to be taken in the event of a radiation emergency. Revised and updated REPPIR regulations were published in May 2019 alongside an associated Code of Practice for offsite planning, which required KCC to comprehensively review and update its offsite plan for Dungeness B Nuclear Power Station. Mr Harwood confirmed that the Consequence Report for Dungeness B Nuclear Power Station was received on 20th September. It was recommended that a revised DEPZ be developed, which remained at approximately 2.4km radius, by the County Council in consultation with key stakeholders, but which was adjusted to respond more effectively to the geography and demography of the local area. This enabled a precautionary approach in relation to countermeasures and better reflected the pattern of development in the locality.
3. Officers responded to comments and questions as follows:
(a) Mr Harwood informed Members that the 2.4km proposal was the most practical layout to administer and that stakeholders, including local residents, were familiar with this established configuration. The 2.4 km DEPZ countermeasures for the public included ‘shelter in situ’, stable iodine tablet distribution or evacuation from the area. Currently the Dungeness B Nuclear Power Station operator (EDF Energy) distributed public information to all residents and businesses within the DEPZ. Residents and businesses were also issued with a calendar detailing required countermeasures, a supply of stable iodine tablets and advice for residents and others within the DEPZ to ‘go in, stay in, tune in’, close all doors, windows and turn off air-conditioning in the event of a radiation emergency. Previously, the aforementioned duties fell within the remit of the operator (EDF Energy), however, under the REPPIR 2019, the responsibility fell to upper tier authorities. Mr Harwood assured Members that the proposed 2.4km was practical and pragmatic and was based on risk, empirical evidence and data.
(b) In terms of duties and responsibilities of staff, Kent County Council operated a 24/7 Duty Emergency Planning Officer system which was backed up by on-call 24/7 Duty Recovery Directors, Tactical Managers and an on-call emergency response team which enabled administrative support. Mr Harwood assured Members that KCC always placed its resident’s safety at the heart of its decisions and that KCC had the correct command and control architecture and structures in place to ensure appropriate protection.
(c) The officers noted Members support in communicating with residents and supporting emergency planning education in schools.
(d) Mr Harwood said that prior to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, emergency planning for nuclear facilities had been predicated on reference incidents (worst case scenario industrial accidents), however, the impact of the 2011 nuclear disaster was so profound it led to the reconsideration of emergency planning and resilience for nuclear plants and these fed into the 2019 Regulations.
(e) In response to resources to manage the additional responsibilities, the new regulation enabled cost recovery from the operator. EDF had complied with the figure submitted by KCC and funding was due to be recouped for the work that had been carried out.
(f) In terms of contingency for fishermen, Mr Harwood confirmed that data had been collected around the different times and reasons why fishermen entered the emergency planning zone, however, more work needed to be done to better understand the complexities of this work. The Regulation made reference to the environment and biodiversity and these need to be accounted for in contingency planning.
4. It was RESOLVED that:
(a) the timetable and work programme to deliver Kent County Council compliance with REPPIR 2019 be noted; and
(b) the proposed decision (19/00066) to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory services to confirm the Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ) for Dungeness B Nuclear Power Station to remain at the 2.4km radius, be endorsed.