A new proposal has been lodged to reduce the Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ) around Hunterston B by more than 50 per cent.

Following recommendations from the operators, it is proposed that the DEPZ around Hunterston B is amended to 1.08km, from its current size of 2.4km.

Hunterston B ceased operation earlier this year and the defueling process is now under way at the facility.

A consequences report was required as part of the process and advised that the DEPZ boundary should be revised.

The size and shape of the DEPZ was previously determined by the Office for Nuclear Regulation before the introduction of new legislation which transferred that power to local authorities.

It is the duty of Hunterston B operators EDF to assess the risks in relation to the sites and recommend the DEPZ boundaries, with the council then voting on the proposals.

Although the matter will be considered by North Ayrshire Council’s cabinet on Tuesday September 27, the council has very limited discretion to diverge from this recommendation.

The operators’ consequences report recommends that the DEPZ boundary for Hunterston A, which is a decommissioning site, remain at 0km, while the DEPZ for Hunterston B should change from 2.4km to 1.08km.

The DEPZ is the area close to the site where protective countermeasures - such as sheltering and evacuation - are to be applied in the event of an off-site release.

Whilst the consequences report recommends that the pre-distribution of stable iodine tablets is now no longer justifiable as an appropriate protection measure in the unlikely event of an offsite release of radiation, every household currently within the DEPZ will continue to receive safety information.