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Using MonitorPro to monitor the environmental impact of radioactive waste
A UK based nuclear waste management company which is the UK’s Primary low-level radioactive waste repository can be located on the West Cumbrian coast approximately six kilometers south-east of the Sellafield nuclear site at Drigg village. The site stores waste from Sellafield, MoD sites, nuclear power stations, hospitals, universities, medical companies, and the oil industry. It has been operating since 1959.
Saving Time and Money
Through negotiation with the Environment Agency (EA), The nuclear waste company made significant rationalisation of the required frequency of monitoring and subsequent reduction in monitoring costs equating to approximately £150,000. MonitorPro - Desktop gave the business the tool to show the EA.
Originally placed into ‘trenches,’ Waste has gone through a major upgrade in disposal operations over the past 20 years. The UK based company is the management and operation contractor on site and manages it on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). It has always taken a proactive view in managing the environmental impact from the company. Since its inception a vast amount of data (many millions of readings) has been collected in and around the site.
Data collected includes, drilling logs, soil samples and analyses, ground water and surface water data, leachate flow rates, levels, samples and analyses, air samples and other environmental samples and analyses.
The monitoring also includes extensive radiometric monitoring undertaken on-site, at the perimeter and at various off-site locations for air-borne and water-borne radioactivity. Results from this monitoring are routinely provided to the Environment Agency and other bodies. Prior to 2009, the nuclear waste management company kept the data in a variety of different systems and datasets to manage this monitoring data.
A New Approach
In January 2009 a review was undertaken to identify a system they could use to hold the data as a single dataset. With a forecast of collecting up to 8 million data points annually they were looking for a system which could contain this ever increasing volume of data and offer additional benefits of flexibility and ease of use. MonitorPro - Desktop’s system was selected from among 5 systems reviewed.
Prior to full installation a data transfer task was undertaken which involved the import of historic data stretching back over 30 years into MonitorPro - Desktop. The dataset is currently approaching 20GB still with only approx. 70% of the available data imported. Now the nuclear waste company have a 10 user premium system and since installation, the system has been in constant use both acquiring data and in data presentation.
Consolidating a System
During 2010 EHS Data utilised the consolidated data stored within MonitorPro - Desktop during a review of our environmental monitoring programme. The consolidated data allowed improved comparison of results and lead to a number of issues within the analysis suite had never been detected on site.
The New system now utilises the compliance grid system to highlight data which is out with the usual range of the historical data by automatically emailing a report highlighting unusual data, enhancing the ability to review and react to 'unusual' data.
An employed environmental manager said 'The ability to establish and track a monitoring schedule in MonitorPro - Desktop will be particularly useful. We are also able to show full auditability and validation of our data which has been key since, to date, most of our data comes from contractors and other third parties'.