Policy actions  3 of 4

Nuclear responsibilities

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is the authority tasked with cleaning up the UK’s public sector nuclear legacy safely, securely, cost effectively and in ways that safeguard the environment for this and future generations.

The NDA has responsibility for designated sites in Scotland that represent that legacy, including sites and facilities that were developed in the 1950s and 1960s to support defence and nuclear power generation research. There are three NDA sites in Scotland at Dounreay, Hunterston A and Chapelcross.

We work with the NDA to implement policy for the long-term management of higher-activity waste in near-surface facilities.

Find more information on the governance of the NDA in the NDA framework document.

Scottish Ministers

Scottish Ministers are accountable to the Scottish Parliament for the activities and performance of the NDA in respect of which ministers have statutory duties and responsibilities under the Energy Act 2004. 

Their responsibilities, carried out in conjunction with the Secretary of State, are:

  • setting the performance framework within which the NDA will operate
  • approving the NDA’s Strategy and Annual Plan
  • issuing Directions and Designations;
  • providing information to the Scottish Parliament about the NDA
  • laying the NDA’s Annual Accounts before the Scottish Parliament

Scottish Ministers are not responsible for:

  • setting the pay and incentive structure for the Chair and other non-executive members
  • determining the terms on which the NDA will have access to Grant in Aid in order to discharge its duties and responsibilities
  • maintenance of appropriate funding mechanisms
  • seeking approval for expenditure


The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is responsible for the regulation of all radioactive substances, including the regulation of keeping and use of radioactive substances and the disposal of radioactive wastes at all sites.

The only exception is the accumulation of radioactive wastes at licensed nuclear sites, which is regulated by the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

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