Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station

Information for people living within the 30km Outline Emergency Planning Zone

In the unlikely event of a radiation emergency the response will be coordinated by the emergency services, North Ayrshire Council and other responders supported by EDF Energy.

Detailed advice and information will be put out through local TV, radio, social media and updates placed on websites of individual organisations which will be coordinated by Police Scotland.

The link to North Ayrshire Council’s most up to date information regarding an incident is available here (only activated during an incident) and via North Ayrshire Council twitter (see link on this page or search for @North_Ayrshire on Twitter).

A map has been provided highlighting both the DEPZ (Detailed Emergency Planning Zone of 2.4km) and the OPZ (Outline Planning Zone) to 30km. 


What is the Outline Planning Zone (OPZ)?

Over the years the UK has developed detailed plans for how the response to a nuclear emergency should be managed.  There has never been a nuclear incident in the UK that required the activation of these plans, but it is important that they exist and are reviewed.

As part of the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019 (REPPIR19), councils with nuclear facilities in their areas have recently been required to review these plans and create an Outline Planning Zone (OPZ) which is an additional strategic level plan for areas around these sites.  It is important to note that there has been no change to the risk.

Protective actions for people living in the OPZ would only be activated if it was determined the risk from the event extended beyond the area for which detailed emergency plans already exist.  The technical evidence available shows it is unlikely that this will be necessary but a decision to activate the plan will always be taken based on the best available information as opposed to previously developed planning assumptions.

Does this apply to me?

This information has been provided for awareness of radiation emergency arrangements for people who live beyond the Hunterston B 2.4km DEPZ and within the 30km OPZ.  It is not likely that you will be asked to take immediate action in the event of a radiation emergency, but we have provided information on the steps that might be taken in the unlikely event of a severe radiation emergency.

Those living with the DEPZ of Hunterston B receive information directly from North Ayrshire Council / EDF in the form of a calendar annually.

How will I know if there is a radiation emergency?

A large part of establishing the OPZ is ensuring that information is readily available on schools, carehomes and other vulnerable sites.  Direct contact with these sites will be considered as part of the OPZ response.  The emergency services will alert people of a radiation emergency through all channels available to them including the news media (local TV and radio), web and social media. 

A radiation emergency may cause an increased risk to public health and require specific countermeasures to be put into place by the emergency services.

Will I be affected and what should I do?

If radiation is released from the site, weather conditions are an important factor in determining which areas are affected as radioactive material is carried on the wind and dispersed and deposited further afield.

People can be exposed to breathing in radioactive material; being directly exposed to radioactive material in the air or deposited on surfaces; and / or eating and drinking food contaminated by radioactive material.

You may be advised to go indoors or stay indoors, with windows and doors closed to reduce the risk of breathing in or coming into direct contact with any radioactive material which may be deposited.

The emergency services will issue information, advice and instructions on what action (if any) you should take through local media.  Therefore it is important that you stay in and tune in.

It should be noted however that only the people living within the DEPZ area (2.4km from site) would immediately be advised to take protective action (ie, stay indoors and / or take pre-issued stable iodine tablets).

What can I eat and drink?

If there are any restrictions on food and drink during an emergency at Hunterston B, it will be communicated by local TV, radio and social media channels.  Prior to any announcement of any food or drink restrictions, you should avoid eating uncovered food such as fresh vegetables from the garden.  It should be safe to drink/use fresh tap water and to consume covered food and drink that you already have in your house.

Should I leave the area?

It is unlikely that anyone who lives around the site will be advised to evacuate immediately.  After assessing the hazard and weather conditions, the emergency services may subsequently advise people to evacuate or take shelter.

If a wider evacuation is necessary, you will be told which routes to use to leave the area via local TV and radio, or by door to door visits by the emergency services.  Rest Centres will be established to care for people unable to make their own arrangements.

Those dealing with the emergency response will make contact with the vulnerable sites within the OPZ (schools, carehomes, etc) and provide additional advice and information.

Stable Iodine Tablets

Stable iodine tablets are pre-issued to people located within 2.4km of Hunterston B to help reduce the amount of radioactive iodine the body retains if exposed to radioactive material.

As with any protective measure, the use of stable iodine must be balanced against the risk of taking the medicine.

Additional stocks of tablets are available and will be distributed if needed.

Hunterston A

Please note that the OPZ for Hunterston A is only 1km and is therefore contained entirely within the DEPZ of Hunterston B.

Further Information

For further information about planning arrangements for Hunterston B and Hunterston A or any other contingency planning arrangements, please contact Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team directly at