Land Quality Strategy and End States

The overarching strategy for managing contaminated land is fundamentally shaped by its use. On operating sites this is clearly defined and there are established procedures for controlling work activities so as to avoid exposures and contain the contamination. For decommissioning sites it is necessary to consider the vision for the future use of the site. There may be economic drivers for land to be reused, or social factors, depending on the location of the site. In the special case of historic nuclear sites, community consultation is a particularly important factor, and can influence the End State objectives for such sites as required by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Once the site’s End State has been defined, options for achieving an appropriate condition need to be developed and examined. If the End State is scheduled to be achieved a long time in the future (e.g. due to the complexities of site decommissioning), interim End States may become the first priority. Acceptable interim or final End States can often be achieved in various ways, and deciding on the best strategy can have major financial implications. For example, the restoration timescales may be short or long. Contamination could be immobilised in-situ or removed. For the most complex sites, the route to the end state may involve detailed interactions with the decommissioning plans and national facilities such as waste disposal sites. In some cases, facilities will need to be built to deal with wastes, meaning managing construction can also be part of site restoration.

Quintessa has been supporting the development of Land Quality Strategy and Site End States for more than a decade, at sites including Dounreay, Winfrith and Chapelcross. This has often involved working closely with the site’s staff and understanding the subtleties of the sites history, social and environmental setting. We have also been central players in programmes like SAFEGROUNDS that have built guidance for contaminated land in a consultative way. Throughout, Quintessa can bring capabilities for understanding the potential risks from the site, and making structured decisions on its future management.

Image courtesy of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd. and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority