The Port of Cromarty Firth is the first port in Scotland to be granted decommissioning Permits under the latest environment legislation (Pollution Prevention Control Regulations 2013). They have this week been issued a permit under the Radioactive Substances Act by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), which means that the Port is now fully licensed to undertake decommissioning projects and attract the associated jobs to the Highlands.
This Radioactive Substance Act (RSA) Permit regulates the keeping and use of radioactive materials and the accumulation and disposal of radioactive waste. This includes Normally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM), which can be generated through the oil production process. The regulations are designed to minimise the potential effects to both human health and the environment. They contain specific limitations and conditions under which radioactive substances can be used, stored and disposed of.
The first permit, granted in November, ensures that emissions to air, water (including discharges to sewer) and land, plus a range of other environmental effects must be considered together. This provides a more complete view of the necessary environmental management and therefore a higher standard of environmental protection.
The permits cover almost the whole of the Port-owned Invergordon Service Base; around 600m of quayside and 80,000sqm of laydown area. It allows for the processing of 50,000 tonnes of waste material per year.
Captain Calum Slater, General Manager of the Port of Cromarty Firth, said: “This second permit means the Port is now decommissioning ready. We have the licences, capacity, experience and infrastructure, combined with a strategic location in the North Sea, and we are currently in talks with a number of companies about bringing this work to the Highlands.
The permits are held by the Port, so companies looking to decommission their assets can either benefit from a turnkey solution using the Port’s consortium of specialist companies, or they can appoint their own preferred supplier. The Port of Cromarty Firth is the first Port to offer this open port philosophy and allow any reputable client, operator or contractor to use the Port’s permits.
Slater added: “Most other ports are aligning with a single contractor, but we’re doing the opposite to provide customers with more flexibility and choice. The Port will work with these different companies to ensure that all decommissioning activities at the Port’s Invergordon Service Base are carried out to the highest environmental standards.”