Fit-for-purpose land quality management strategies
The physical environment around any nuclear facility can be heavily impacted upon due to the nature of the materials used or being treated within it and its protection and maintenance is of constant concern for our clients. TÜV SÜD has an established team who can support in the development of our client's land quality strategy and the ongoing assessment of its current condition.
Our Land Quality Team specialises in supporting our clients to develop fit-for-purpose management strategies for land quality issues which affect their assets.
We have a long track record of delivering successful projects, under Regulatory scrutiny, within the nuclear sector through both decommissioning and new build project life cycles. We also deliver this expertise through other sectors which require knowledge of radiological risks or where understanding of high hazard operations is required.
We work with management teams to understand business drivers and to communicate risks to their operational success. This integration enables the development of programmes of work which will satisfy Regulators as well as fit within operational business needs. We also work closely with project implementation teams and contractors on-the-ground to help manage and deliver the practical aspects of the strategy and to provide technical reporting deliverables and dynamic recommendations as projects move through design and implementation steps.
Our portfolio spans new build, decommissioning, infrastructure and maintenance improvement projects as well as Regulatory driven environmental improvement programs. We add value to each project by following a defined process of setting clear objectives and engagement with key stakeholders and decision makers early in the design process. This avoids the delivery of abortive or unnecessary work and makes sure that the information needs of key decision makers are met first time. We make considerable effort to gain a thorough understanding of how a site operates and how key teams interact so that existing data sources can be readily identified, maximised and then coordinated across each business.
The starting point for many of our projects is working with the client team to set clear objectives and then maximising the value of existing information and assets held across many parts of a business. In the generation of a Phase I Desk Study / Preliminary Risk Assessment (PRA), we are able to define the source-pathway-receptor linkages present within a conceptual site model and define which are active, potentially active or inactive. This, coupled with a detailed gap analysis of the existing information, allows us to underpin technical decisions as we move through the project lifecycle and to define and focus on future information needs.
To clearly demonstrate how identified data gaps will be addressed, the next step is often the development of a Sampling Strategy and underpinning Sampling Plan. These design documents allow our clients to clearly demonstrate to stakeholders the scope of work which is required to enable the land quality issues identified to be understood. For complex projects, with multiple stakeholders, objectives and scope are agreed through a facilitated workshop run by our specialists and where appropriate encompass the seven step Data Quality Objectives ( DQO) principals. The generation of these documents also enable early engagement and discussion with Regulators so that the approaches can be agreed from the outset. The Sampling Strategy encompasses which media are to be sampled, the methods to be used and the range of radiological and chemical testing to be applied along with a full justification for the selected approach. The Sample Plan then sets out exactly which samples will be collected and how they will be tested and confirms which objectives the sample collection will meet. This ensures that the scope of sampling and testing is fit for purpose and remains focused upon the agreed objectives. The development of these documents also enables the client teams and their intelligent customers to assess the value of the work in supporting their continued operations or decommissioning objectives.
Once the scope of work is clearly defined, our team develop detailed Technical Specifications for all aspects of intrusive site works. Our team has many years of experience of working with a full range of site investigation methods and in the development of industry standard documentation, including bills of quantities so that our clients can engage in a structured way with specialists in the supply chain. We support our clients through the procurement process and then work closely with the selected contractors to deliver the specified workstreams.
Our team has an ideal mix of desk-based and field-craft skills, with many of us having over twenty years of experience of working in both office and site environments. Keeping a current mix of skills keeps us adept at Supervision of Intrusive Site Works . We work with our and our client’s contractors with a team mentality to implement a range of drilling and sampling techniques. This allows us to enable investigation works through safe problem solving and collaborative thinking which is essential within the environments within which we work. Our close supervision is also key in ensuring that the Sampling Strategy, Sample Plan and Technical Specifications are accurately implemented or, where challenged by the physical environment, any necessary changes are clearly documented and reported.
Following completion of Intrusive Site Works, we develop a Phase II Interpretative Report / Generic Quantitative Risk Assessment (GQRA) to further define the presence of relevant pollutant linkages (RPL) and their potential to affect sensitive receptors through the use of generic assessment criteria. Where required, specific contaminants and their active pathways are subject to a further level of quantitative assessment.
To confirm if further stages of remedial measures are required for the site specific scenario defined, Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessments (DQRA) are developed using site derived parameters and published data suitable to represent each source of contamination and the relevant pollutant linkages confirmed through site investigation and GQRA. Outline recommendations for next steps in management of land quality challenges are always provided within this reporting phase to assist clients to manage stakeholder expectations.
Where stages of risk assessment demonstrate that there are unacceptable risks to receptors through relevant pollutant linkages, there will be a requirement both within the Regulatory framework and to support continued operations, to apply remedial measures. As there are usually many options to consider when identifying a preferred remediation option, the assessment of technical solutions, their impacts to stakeholders and sustainability aspects need to be formally examined and findings recorded to underpin the selection of a preferred solution. Our team has been involved in many such assessments with technical specialists inputting to the selection process and experienced facilitators ensuring that workshops and stakeholder engagement are independently and transparently managed.
If a Third Party is appointed by our clients to apply a selected remediation option, our team provides independent monitoring of the works throughout the program to ensure that the specification is being correctly applied and that the works are being appropriately recorded and validated as the project progresses. We also help our client’s respond to technical queries and to provide guidance where site conditions may instigate a change in approach. Throughout the process, our team can also support discussions with Regulators and stakeholders to minimise close-out issues at the end of the process.
Material Management Plans and Waste Arisings Assessments form part of many of our projects due to the generation of materials during excavations and demolitions. We examine opportunities for material re-use on client sites as well as undertaking suitable characterisation for off-site removal/disposal as appropriate. To provide a seamless service from project conception stage, we collaborate closely with in-house client teams involved in waste management decisions to ensure that the right data is provided at each decision making stage. We can also help our client teams implement the CL:AIRE Code of Practice (CoP) which provides a framework for the re-use of excavated materials on-site or their transfer between sites, without being classified as waste.
We provide our clients with strategic support at lead team level with the derivation of Land Quality Management Strategy, Land Quality Management Plan and underpinning Land Quality Procedures for implementation at project level. This process provides a multi-layer framework which sits within the client management system and which can be reported against for both operation and Regulatory targets and underpins the preparation of funding and implementation plans on a practical level. The Land Quality Management Strategy sets out the relevant issues and high level objectives for the operator for their management, which are then discussed and agreed with the Regulators. This involves also understanding the site end state or interim end state as appropriate in order to define objectives which are achievable and fit within the operational aspirations and meet environmental objectives for each site. The Land Quality Management Plan is developed to set out clear work packages and steps with defined timescales which are needed to implement the overarching strategy and the Land Quality Procedures provide a process to follow for project teams implementing site development and decommissioning works to ensure that appropriate action is taken and data is captured which feeds into the delivery of each stage of the Land Quality Management Plan.
We regularly work alongside our clients to interface with a number of industry Regulators. As such we have a good working knowledge of expectations and are able to build good relationships which underpin discussion and negotiations to reach agreement on reasonable outcomes. We support our clients to prepare technical updates and presentations and to defend their position when faced with challenge so that targets set remain reasonable within their operational framework.
The vast range of experience at TÜV SÜD places us well to provide independent and unbiased technical review of Third Party deliverables related to the management of contaminated land and proposals to deliver work packages in support of the Client Land Quality Management Strategy. We can provide input at every level from strategy development to practical implementation on-site with contractors and supply chain. Our key staff have in excess of twenty years of experience in the contaminated land industry, spanning the nuclear industry as well as cross-sector commercial consultancy experience. This gives a wide perspective and a great platform for learning from experience. We provide clear opinions and a structured way forward for our clients.
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