In November 2001 the UK Government issued a statement on the future management of public sector nuclear liabilities and in its white paper “Managing the nuclear legacy” proposed the establishment of a Liabilities Management Authority, or the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as it is now called. With the advent of the NDA, whose aim will be to safely and cost effectively reduce nuclear liabilities, and existing Government Policy which requires systematic and progressive reduction in hazard, there is a need for some form of index to demonstrate progress. Although there are many indices in use, mainly within the chemical industry, none of these are considered suitable for this purpose. A Waste Conversion Index is currently being developed to satisfy these needs. The Waste Conversion Index will reflect an emphasis on passive safety rather than the more traditional safety analysis which focuses on risk. It is intended to be applicable across all UK civil nuclear sites and may act as one of a number of long-term performance indicators. This paper describes how the index is formulated, and the various factors used in the calculation together with its main uses including its use as a predictive tool to demonstrate progressive hazard reduction as nuclear liabilities are reduced. In addition the paper warns against the misuse of the index as a sole means of decision making in developing hazard reduction strategies, prioritising projects and allocating funding. Finally, some examples are given of its application to existing facilities.

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