The Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) is the primary facility for disposal of Low Level Waste (LLW) in the United Kingdom (UK), serving the UK nuclear industry and a diverse range of other sectors. Management of LLW in the UK historically was dominated by disposal to the LLWR. The value of the LLWR as a national asset was recognised by the 2007 UK Governmental Policy on management of solid LLW. At this time, analysis of the projected future demand for disposal at LLWR against facility capacity was undertaken identifying a credible risk that the capacity of LLWR would be insufficient to meet future demand if existing waste management practices were perpetuated.
To mitigate this risk a National Strategy for the management of LLW in the UK was developed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), partnered with LLW Repository Ltd. (the organisation established in 2008 to manage the LLWR on behalf of NDA). This strategy was published in 2010 and identified three mechanisms for protection of the capacity of LLWR – application of the Waste Hierarchy by waste producers; optimised use of existing assets for LLW management; and opening of new waste treatment and disposal routes to enable diversion of waste away from the LLWR.
Since publication of the National Strategy, there have been significant efforts made by LLWR (on behalf of NDA) to drive strategy implementation and to optimise LLW management practices across the UK. This paper seeks to illustrate the challenges of strategy implementation in the context of the 2010 LLW National Strategy to provide a demonstration that “strategy is a commodity, execution is an art”. The paper describes: the key themes of the National Strategy; the key barriers to strategy implementation; the measures implemented by LLWR since publication of the National Strategy to support transformation of LLW management behaviours, with emphasis on how the initiative supports achieving the behavioural change; and providing a review of the past two years and a look forward to the planned evolution of National Strategy implementation over the next five years.