Environmental Risk and Impact Assessment

GSL are world leaders in radiological and non-radiological impact assessment and modelling.  This includes scenario development, FEP (feature, event and process) management, uncertainty management, environmental simulation, and probabilisitc and deterministic modelling of different exposure pathways and mechanisms.  The general approaches we take to developing safety cases and safety assessments parallel the procedures developed and refined in national and international programmes over many years.  However, the actual approach followed in each project is discussed and agreed according to the specific objectives and context.

A particular aspect of risk assessment and management in which GSL specialises, is the development of safety cases and permit or licence applications.  For example, GSL was involved in the successful application for the licensing of the world’s only deep geologic repository for long-lived transuranic waste, and GSL has led the development of Environmental Safety Cases for authorisation of waste disposal facilities in the UK.

Safety and Performance Assessment As part of our expertise in safety case development, GSL has undertaken and supported numerous quantitative safety and performance assessment modelling studies and taken part in international research initiatives on particular aspects of such modelling.

  • We have undertaken several iterations of a long-term safety assessment for the New LLW Facilities at Dounreay using the GoldSim software.
  • GSL has developed tools for assessing the radiological impacts of inadvertent human intrusion for the LLW Repository in Cumbria and the proposed Category A waste disposal facility in Belgium.
  • We have undertaken dose assessments for operational practices using codes based on MicroShield, for example at Dounreay and East Northants.
  • We have contributed to FEP (feature, event, or process) database and scenario development projects for waste disposal safety assessment programmes in the UK, Belgium, France, and the United States, as well as taking part in workshops on the subject organised by the Nuclear Energy Agency.
  • GSL planned, managed and reported on studies on the treatment and management of uncertainties in repository performance assessment as part of the PAMINA European Commission research project.
  • GSL has organised, facilitated and reported on international workshops for the Nuclear Energy Agency on Engineered Barrier Systems in geological disposal and the use of risk in assessing the safety of disposal facilities.
  • On behalf of the Scottish and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research (SNIFFER), GSL developed the assessment approach and tools for decision-making on disposal of radioactive waste to landfills, via the Special Precautions Burial route.

Environmental Safety Case and Permit Development GSL is at the forefront of thinking on the development of Environmental Safety Cases to support the permitting or licensing of radioactive waste disposal facilities.

  • In the UK, GSL has led the development of the Environmental Safety Case and Radioactive Substance Act 1993 Authorisation application for the New Low-Level Waste (LLW) Facilities at Dounreay.  These facilities are the first new radioactive waste disposal facilities issued with planning permission and authorisation under the current regulatory guidance.
  • GSL has also supported the development of the 2011 Environmental Safety Case for the LLW Repository in Cumbria and has a framework contract to support ongoing planning and operations at the repository.
  • We were the principal editor for the generic Disposal System Safety Case (gDSSC) for the UK Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) in 2010 and are currently leading development of an Environmental Safety Case Manual to assist in guiding safety case preparation as the UK geological disposal programme proceeds.
  • Internationally, GSL was the only non-US contractor involved in the preparation of the 1996 license application for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico.  We also supported subsequent dialogue on the application with the regulator.  The WIPP is the first deep repository in the world to be issued with a license for the disposal of transuranic waste.
  • GSL has supported ONDRAF/NIRAS in Belgium in the preparation of an application for an establishment and operating licence for a repository for Category A radioactive waste.  The application was submitted in 2013.
  • GSL supported Augean Ltd in preparation of an application for a permit under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 to disposal of radioactive waste at the East Northants Resource Management Facility.

GSL has also been involved in the development of safety cases for many other radioactive waste disposal programmes, including disposal of Category B and C wastes and spent fuel in clay host rocks in Belgium and France, and disposal of spent fuel in crystalline host rocks in Switzerland and Finland.