Legacy situations on nuclear sites usually occur at the end of the life of a facility or site. These situations, such as decommissioning or historic waste treatment, are often responsible for long term hazards to workers and the public. Reducing the magnitude of these long-term hazards will generate waste disposals which may impact on the environment and may result in workers incurring additional doses. The increase in these detriments seems at first glance to be in conflict with the usual aims of the regulators. However by putting the reduction of long term radiation hazard from legacy situations in the context of Government policy and guidance, the approach of current regulatory practice adopted for such situations is considered. The regulatory framework is presented from the high level policy, then through the application of the principles of ALARA, reducing risks — protecting people, Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) and Best Practicable Means (BPM). Issues that the regulators expect the nuclear site operator to address are discussed from both the protection of the public and the environment and examples of the practical implications of the regulatory approach are described. ‘Softer’, but important essentials for the operator to adopt in the handling of legacy situations are also raised. These essentials such as openness and stakeholder dialogue, have in the past been poorly performed leading to a lack of trust and understanding by the public.

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