Nuclear Regulation

GSL has undertaken analyses of a wide range of national and international practices, policies, technology and experience in the regulation of safety and the management of environmental risks for the nuclear and waste management sectors.

Regulatory Expertise

  • GSL staff have a thorough understanding of UK and international radioactive waste and environmental management policy and regulation.  Government clients include the Environment Agency, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR, formerly the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), the Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research (SNIFFER), the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and predecessors, and a range of nuclear regulatory agencies in other countries such as Sweden, France, Japan, and the US.

Peer Review

  • GSL staff regularly undertake technical reviews of documents prepared by clients or by other contractors for a client.  GSL was the lead contractor to the Environment Agency for the review of the post-closure safety case for the low-level waste repository (LLWR) Cumbria.  We have also completed numerous peer reviews of major projects conducted at Dounreay, such as reviews of the performance assessment (PA) conducted for the shaft remediation project, the PA for land remediation, the Baseline Assessment for decommissioning of the Liquid Effluent Discharge Tunnel, and of technical work conducted in support of the Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) for particles in the marine environment.  To support the licensing of the WIPP, GSL staff were responsible for the review and editing of a wide range of technical material covering areas such as the risk assessment, monitoring strategy, and criticality assessment. Other international peer reviews conducted are summarised under the “International Perspective” section.

International Perspective

  • Credibility for any project will be enhanced by the use of consultants who possess a thorough understanding of international programmes, and who are recognised on the international stage.  GSL staff have extensive international experience and a balanced international perspective.  We have an in-depth knowledge of all major radioactive waste management and regulatory programmes.  For example, on behalf of the ONR, we have undertaken an international evaluation of criteria for delicensing of nuclear sites.  On behalf of the Environment Agency, we have undertaken a number of projects designed to investigate the regulatory approach in other countries, including a project that examined approaches to authorisation and licensing in other countries.  We have undertaken international reviews of public stakeholder engagement programmes for decision-making on radioactive waste management for clients in the UK and overseas, including the European Commission (EC).
  • Staff have led reviews of the Dutch radioactive waste management programme, the US programme for the disposal of low- and intermediate-level wastes (L/ILW) at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the US performance assessment programme for the disposal of high-level waste (HLW) and spent fuel at Yucca Mountain, the French HLW disposal programme at the Bure site, the Finnish radioactive waste site characterisation, siting and performance assessment programmes, the Swedish spent fuel disposal programme, and the Swiss radioactive waste disposal performance assessment programme.
  • We have also undertaken international reviews on behalf of a range of clients on topics as diverse as disposal facility licensing, scenario development, human intrusion, treatment of uncertainty in assessments, near-field assessment, colloid migration research, geochemical databases, model validation, hydrogeology, disposal facility design, and waste storage


  • In 2011, the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) applied for a licence to construct and operate a spent nuclear fuel encapsulation facility in Oskarshamn Municipality and a final repository for the encapsulated fuel at Forsmark in Östhammar Municipality.  SKB’s application is being reviewed by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) and the Land and Environmental Court.  GSL staff have been providing support to SSM for its review of the post-closure safety assessment for the final repository.  GSL staff have undertaken detailed reviews of SKB’s overall approach to safety assessment, the treatment of copper corrosion processes in the assessment, SKB’s Quality Assurance procedures and their application to copper corrosion experiments and the selection of data for assessment calculations, and the treatment of Features, Events and Processes (FEPs).  In addition to detailed reviews, GSL staff have directly supported SSM’s evaluation of SKB’s post-closure safety assessment by acting as one of three Technical Secretaries, involving the organisation and facilitation of meetings, writing and reviewing text, and assisting in the development of key conclusions and main messages.
  • GSL has supported the development of licence or authorisation applications for radioactive waste disposal facilities in the UK and the United States, including support for the world’s first authorised deep disposal facility for long-lived waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).
  • GSL has the unique experience in the UK of having represented the proponent and the regulator in authorisation reviews for low-level waste (LLW) disposal facilities at Dounreay and Cumbria respectively.