Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Incidents involving the Direct Rail Services transport of nuclear materials

Date released
12 February 2018
Request number
Release of information under
Freedom of Information Act 2000

Information requested

I note from reading the publication, “System Based Inspection (SBI) of Package Management Roads and Railways (PM R&R) at Sellafield”, June, 2017, LC28, that Direct Rail Services rolling stock suffered brake failures as a result of maintenance issues. Please inform me of the details of these incidents.

I would also be obliged to learn of any other incidents involving the DRS transport of nuclear materials within the last two years.

Information released

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interaction with the Sellafield site licensee, Sellafield Limited (SL), against a strategy defined by the ONR’s Sellafield, Decommissioning Fuel and Waste (SDFW) Division. In accordance with that strategy, a System Based Inspection (SBI) of SL’s Package Management Roads and Railways was planned and conducted in June 2017. The purpose of this inspection was for ONR to examine whether safety case claims in respect of this system, that are important to nuclear safety, have been adequately implemented.

The inspection targeted SL’s Package Management Railway system, and in particular the movement of fuel flasks on and around the Sellafield nuclear licensed site. During the inspection, SL informed ONR that a brake pad failure was identified in the course of a routine planned inspection of a flatrol prior to movement on the Sellafield nuclear licensed site. In accordance with SL established arrangements, all flatrols with that type of brake were quarantined from use pending completion and outcome of an investigation. In addition, SL has advised Direct Rail Services (DRS) of this discovery who also plan to conduct their own investigation. ONR continues to monitor this though routine regulation of SL and DRS. At all times ONR has been satisfied that nuclear safety has not or could not be compromised by this discovery.

With regards to your second question there have been no transport events raised by DRS that meet the ONR Reporting Criteria within the last two years. Details of the ONR Reporting criteria can be found on the ONR website via the following link:

Exemptions applied


PIT (Public Interest Test) if applicable