Office for Nuclear Regulation

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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 importance.
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
Agreements, 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 Act are:

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.