N09: Policy, Regulation and Licensing


The nuclear industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the UK. Regulatory issues necessarily impact upon the development of national policy in environmental and energy areas. This module covers the international and national legal frameworks for nuclear power and radioactive waste management including licensing issues covered by the Nuclear Installations Act, discharge authorisations under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 and planning for new build. The roles of the various regulatory bodies and other players are discussed. The module also addresses the role of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, decommissioning of nuclear facilities and UK radioactive waste management policies and national strategies. Students are introduced to basic legal principles as applied in the nuclear sector and are shown how to read case law and apply their knowledge to legal problems.

On completion, students should be able to:

  • explain the policy context in which the nuclear industry operates.
  • list key legal instruments and explain why they have been made.
  • explain the principles guiding regulation in the nuclear industry and comment on the way that they are used.
  • describe clearly the governing bodies, nationally and internationally, responsible for formulating policy, promulgating laws and regulations and enforcing them
  • explain clearly the responsibility of the employer and the individual in respect of ensuring nuclear safety.
  • identify the legislation applicable to the student’s organisation, and how this is applied.


  • Introduction to legal systems
  • Working with statutes and case law
  • Nuclear law
  • The regulatory framework and institutional arrangements including public bodies involved in determining nuclear policy and regulating the industry at international, European and national levels and the context in which they work.
  • Nuclear Industry Policy and Regulation.
  • Energy Act 2008 and new build.
  • Nuclear licensing and delicensing under the Nuclear Installations Act.
  • Safety assessment, plant justification, engineering substantiation, competency standards.
  • Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2016 and the National Strategy for Radioactive Discharges 2001 – 2020.
  • Nuclear liabilities under international and national law.
  • Radioactive waste management – legacy waste and new build waste
  • UK Radioactive Waste Policy – the MRWS process.