Nuclear power generation and decommissioning sector plan

Successful businesses in future will be those that use low amounts of water, materials and carbon-based energy and create little waste. Prosperous societies will be comprised of these businesses. The nuclear power generation and decommissioning sector, as would be expected, is a tightly regulated sector. In Scotland, there are very high levels of compliance with environment protection laws. SEPA is determined that this compliance performance will continue.


Nuclear sector plan

Nuclear sector plan

The nuclear power generation and decommissioning sector comprises two power stations that generate electricity using a nuclear reactor (Hunterston B and Torness), a former research facility (Dounreay) and two former power stations that are undergoing decommissioning (Chapelcross and Hunterston A).

The sector plan presents our vision for the sector and sets out actions to maintain the current high levels of compliance and continue to go beyond compliance.

Nuclear Sector Plan (PDF)

Nuclear Sector Plan (flip book)

Regulations and guidance

Regulations and guidance

Radioactive substances activities

SEPA regulates the nuclear power generation and decommissioning sector for its radioactive substances activities involving the management of radioactive waste under the Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations 2018 (EASR). SEPA regulates how nuclear sites manage radioactive waste, including the receipt of radioactive waste from other sites, the treatment, storage, transfer and disposal of radioactive waste.

Other activities

SEPA also regulates other activities in the nuclear sector.

  • Abstractions and discharges to the water environment are regulated under the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (CAR).
  • Gaseous discharges are regulated under the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (PPC).
  • Non-radioactive waste is regulated under the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (WML).
  • Some nuclear sites are regulated un the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulation 2015 (COMAH) due to the presence of hazardous chemicals.
  • The two generating sites are regulated under the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) which covers all combustion sources producing carbon dioxide emissions.
  • All sites are regulated under the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2015 and the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations 2015 for emissions arising from air handling and chiller units.
  • SEPA is a statutory consultee to the local planning authority and we regulate impacts such a flood risk through this.
UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the First Minister pledged that Scotland would lead the way to deliver a more equal, more just world, by signing Scotland up to the United Nation (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. These global goals give us the framework to achieve real change, from eradicating poverty to ensuring a good home for us all. This vision is underpinned by Our Approach to Regulation, which aims to deliver environmental protection and improvement in ways which help communities and businesses thrive within the resources of our planet.

Scotland’s businesses have a critical role to play in leading Scotland’s contribution to achieving SDGs. Through our sector plans, we have identified opportunities that will work towards achieving the goals and help realise the economic benefit of increased resource efficiency, innovation and resilience.

The actions set out in the Nuclear Power Generation and Decommissioning Sector Plan contribute towards UN Sustainable Development Goals 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.