Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Compliance inspections at AWE Aldermaston

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

The purpose of this intervention was to undertake Licence Condition (LC) compliance inspections at Aldermaston in line with the planned inspection programme contained in the AWE Integrated Intervention Strategy and associated Intervention Plans. 

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

During this intervention I carried out the following inspections/activities:

The intervention was performed in line with ONR’s guidance requirements (as described in our technical inspection guides) in the areas inspected.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable during this inspection.

Key Findings, Inspector's Opinions and Reasons for Judgements Made

ONR’s full findings from our LC11 inspection of a level 1 demonstration exercise will be reported to AWE in a letter, as is standard practice for such demonstration exercises.  Overall, the ONR team considered the exercise to be an adequate demonstration of AWE's emergency arrangements.  We witnessed good command and control at the Aldermaston Control Point (ACP) responsible for overall emergency control of the site and at the Emergency Control Point.  Areas for learning and for consideration in planning future emergency exercises included: site muster, contamination control, secondary evacuation and considering the benefits in setting more challenging scenarios.

From the evidence sampled during my LC26 inspection I judge that the nuclear material processing facility complies with the requirements of LC26 to an adequate standard, although I noted differences between how the facility implements their work control system and the expectations of AWE’s corporate arrangements.  These corporate arrangements for work control are currently under review by AWE through their Technical lead.  I asked the Technical Lead to ensure that these inspection findings are accounted for during this review.

I followed up on progress in relation to regulatory issues relating to:

In all cases I consider that satisfactory progress towards closure is being made.

During my informal discussions, the following topics were discussed:

In all cases, whilst regulatory opinions were sought and given, they were done so in the form of advice to the licensee in developing their programmes of work going forward.

Conclusion of Intervention

The licensee’s progress against regulatory issues raised in relation to earlier interventions was monitored.

There are no findings from this inspection that could significantly undermine nuclear safety.

The planned interventions set out in the Integrated Intervention Strategy for Aldermaston remain valid and will be followed for future inspections.