HM Nuclear Installations Inspectorate
Relicensing the Atomic Weapons Establishment Sites to AWE plc
ANNEX 1: Appendix 1
NII's powers under a site licence are exercised through the
following legal instruments:
- A Consent is required before the
licensee can carry out any activity which is specifically
identified in the licence or for any other activities which the
NII may specify. For example, a Consent is required before a
reactor is allowed to be started up again following its
periodic shutdown. Before being granted a Consent the licensee
must satisfy NII that the proposed action is safe and that all
procedures necessary for control are in place.
- An Approval is used to freeze a
licensee's arrangements. If NII so specifies, the licensee
is required to submit the arrangements to the NII for approval.
Once approved, the procedures cannot be changed without
NII's agreement, and the procedure itself must be carried
out in accordance with the approved arrangements; failure to do
so would infringe the licence condition and would be an
offence. For example, for nuclear power stations NII generally
approves operating rules important to safety in order to ensure
that licensees cannot change these without seeking NII's
agreement to the change.
- A Direction is issued by NII
when it requires the licensee to take a particular action. For
example, Licence Condition 31(1) gives HSE the power to Direct
a licensee to shut down any plant, operation or process. Such a
Direction would relate to a matter of major or immediate safety
- An Agreement issued by NII
allows a licensee, in accordance with its own arrangements, to
proceed with an agreed course of action. For example, Licence
Condition 22 requires a licensee to have adequate arrangements
to control modifications to safety related plant. Such
arrangements will often state that for modifications which, if
inadequately conceived or implemented, could have serious
nuclear safety implications, the modification cannot be carried
out without the agreement of NII. Hence, the licensee submits a
safety case justifying the modification and does not proceed
until NII has written agreeing to this proposal.
- The standard licence
conditions give NII powers to request the submission of
information by notifying the licensee of the requirement. For
example in Licence Condition 21(8) the licensee shall, if
notified by HSE, submit a safety case and shall not commence
operation of the relevant plant or process without the consent
of the Executive.
- The standard licence gives
NII discretionary controls with regard to a licensee's
arrangements and these are implemented through Specifications.
For example, in Licence Condition 23(2), if HSE specifies, the
licensee is required to refer operating rules to his Nuclear
Safety Committee for consideration.
- Licence Instruments
notifications, and specifications are all legally binding
communications between NII and the licensee which allow the
licensee to carry out an activity or require some form of
action to be taken. To administer these requests or
authorisations, NII has produced a standard form of letter
known as a licence instrument.
NII's enforcement powers under the Health and Safety at Work
- Improvement notice
- The HSW Act provides
(s.21) for an inspector, if of the opinion that a statutory
provision is being or has been contravened (and the
contravention will continue), to serve a notice requiring the
person to remedy the contravention.
- Prohibition notice
- The HSW Act also
provides (s.22) for an inspector, if of the opinion that
activities are being carried out which risk causing serious
personal injury, to serve a notice with immediate effect to
prohibit the activity.