HM Nuclear Installations Inspectorate
Relicensing the Atomic Weapons Establishment Sites to AWE plc
- AEA Technology plc
- As Low as Reasonably Practicable - the ALARP principle is a
fundamental to the regulation of health and safety in the UK and
requires that risks should be weighed against the costs of reducing
them; measures must then be taken to reduce or eliminate the risks
unless the cost of doing so is obviously unreasonable compared with
- AWEML is a consortium comprised of
British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL), Lockheed Martin and SERCO. It
holds the Management and Operations Contract for the AWE sites, and
owns all the shares in AWE plc apart from one special share held by
the Secretary of State for Defence. AWEML has recruited and
supplied a management team to AWE plc, the operator of the AWE
- AWE plc
- AWE plc is a company created by
MoD; it employ the managers and workforce on the AWE sites and is
the repository of AWE's scientific and production expertise.
AWE plc is the user of the sites and is in day to day control of
- Chemical and Hazardous Industries
Directorate of HSE, which also deals with explosives
- Defence Evaluation and Research Agency
- Department of Industry.
- Environment Agency
- Field Operations
Directorate of HSE, which regulates 'conventional' health
and safety matters across a range of industries
- Government owned, contractor operated
- Health and Safety Commission - The Health and
Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive (HSE or 'The
Executive') are bodies created by the Health and Safety at Work
etc. Act (1974). The Commission is responsible to the Secretary of
State for Environment, Transport and the Regions (and to other
Secretaries of State) for the administration of the Act. The
Commission makes substantial use of independent advisory committees
who advise the Commission directly.
- Health and
Safety Executive - a distinct statutory body with day-to-day
responsibility for making arrangements for the enforcement of
safety legislation. The Executive is the statutory licensing
authority for civil nuclear installations, a function which it
delegates to senior officials within the Nuclear Installations
Inspectorate (NII) which is part of HSE's Nuclear Safety
- HSW Act
- Health and Safety at Work
etc Act 19742.
- Intermediate Level
- Licence Condition: HSE is able to attach
to a licence, at any time, such conditions as appear to it to be
necessary or desirable in the interests of safety. It may also
include conditions with respect to the handling, treatment and
disposal of nuclear matter. HSE also has power to vary or revoke
conditions so providing scope for the licence to be tailored to
specific circumstances and the phase of the installation's
life. A list of the standard licence conditions is in Reference 8.
Note that these have been recently amended to make reference to the
Radioactive Substances Act 1993 rather than the Radioactive
Substances Act 1960.
- A Nuclear Site
Licence - under the NI Act, no site may be used for the purpose of
installing or operating a nuclear reactor (or some other types of
nuclear installations), other than a reactor in a means of
transport, unless a licence has been granted by HSE (sites operated
by the Crown are exempt). The granting of a nuclear site licence
imposes an absolute liability upon the licensee as regards injury
to persons or damage to property arising from a nuclear occurrence.
- Local Liaison Committee.
- Ministry of Defence
- NI Act
- Nuclear Installations
Act 1965 (as amended)3.
- HM Nuclear
Installations Inspectorate - a part of the Nuclear Directorate of HSE - senior officers of which have delegated
regulation and enforcement powers relating to nuclear licensing
under the NI Act. (See HSE above).
Safety Advisory Committee - the Health and Safety Commission's
independent adviser on the subject of nuclear safety, formerly
known as the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Nuclear
- Nuclear Safety
Committee. Licence condition 13 requires that a licensee should set
up a senior level committee which should consider and advise on
matters which affect the safe design, construction, commissioning,
operation and decommissioning of the installations on the licensed
site and any other matters relevant to safety. The committee must
have members who are adequately qualified to perform this task and
to provide a source of authoritative advice to the licensee. The
committee, however, is purely advisory and must not be considered
to have an executive function, but the Executive must be informed
if the advice of the committee is not to be followed by the
- Nuclear Safety Division of HSE, of
which NII is part.
- Off-site Centre.
- HSE's Safety Assessment
Principles14 - written as guidance for NII staff to use
when carrying out assessment; they are available to licensees and
- Safety case
- The safety case is a suite
of documents providing a written demonstration that risks have been
reduced to a level that is as low as reasonably practicable. The
safety case is not a one-off series of documents prepared to obtain
a nuclear site licence. It is intended to be a living dossier which
underpins every safety related decision made by the licensee. The
safety case is required to be updated regularly and as plant and
organisational changes dictate. Safety cases can apply to whole
plants or to modifications and encompass some aspects addressed in
- Safety Management
- The management prospectus can be regarded as
that part of a licensee's safety case which deals with
management issues. Licence applicants develop and submit a
management prospectus which inter alia demonstrates their
commitment to health and safety By this means NII expects to
receive a clear statement about a company, its structure and how it
proposes to operate.
- Special Share
- The Secretary
of State for Defence retains one special share in AWE plc. This
device enables the Secretary of State to inhibit any change to the
company (e.g. to the Memorandum and Articles of the company) which
might detract from the continued safe and efficient operation of
the AWE sites.
- The term "use"
features in the NI Act in relation to the corporate person licensed
under the act. In HSE's published guidance6,
'the user' is interpreted as being the company "which
is in day to day control of the site, process and activities and
whose staff manage the operation of the plant".