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Portland Port Off-site Reactor Emergency Plan

Portland Port is one of the few ports within the UK able to host nuclear powered submarines for the Royal Navy.

The Portland Port 'Deep water berth' is authorised for operational visits by nuclear powered submarines. These authorised berths are also called 'Operational Berths'. The Royal Navy has been operating nuclear powered submarines since the early 1960s and has a safety record that is second to none. It is also important to stress that due to the design of a submarine nuclear reactor there is no risk of an 'atom-bomb' type explosion, contrary to popular belief.

Dorset Council and the Emergency Services have a statutory duty laid down by Central Government to plan and prepare for emergency situations, in the highly unlikely event of a radiation emergency.

These statutory duties were laid until recently under the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations (REPPIR) 2001. As of 22 March 2019, these have been updated and replaced with the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019. These latest regulations place extra responsibilities upon the Local Authorities, and hence Dorset Council.  One such duty includes the determination of the Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ) based on a  Consequences Report produced by the operator (Royal Navy), and the publication of this report.

In line with these requirements work recently undertaken by Dorset Council has confirmed the extent of the DEPZ for Portland Port as an area described in Dorset Council determination for Portland Operation Berth.  This area has not changed compared to existing arrangements, except that setting its extent (and potential future changes) now rests with Dorset Council and not the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

Further work is currently being undertaken by Dorset Council’s Emergency Planning to adopt the new Regulations with the intention to be compliant with these by the end of a twelve-month transition process (ending 22 May 2020). As such, this page will be regularly updated with the latest information, leaflets, and Plan.

However, until full adoption, extant arrangements developed by Dorset Council's Emergency Planning Service in conjunction with its partners of the Operational Berth Issues Group (OBIG) remain in place.

A booklet; Information in the event of a Radiation Emergency in Portland Port describes precautions to be taken in the unlikely event of such an emergency.

A public version of the Portland Port Off-site Nuclear Reactor Emergency Plan is also available.

Following the adoption of REPPIR 2019, member organisations of the OBIG will continue to undertake regular reviews of the Plan and test these arrangements at suitable intervals (not exceeding three years).

For further information please contact us.

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