Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Compliance inspection at AWE Burghfield

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This report covers interventions carried out as part of the regulation of the Atomic Weapons Establishment. Compliance inspections form part of ONR’s toolkit for monitoring the performance of licensees against specified Licence Conditions.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I attended AWE’s Burghfield site to perform a Compliance inspection regarding Licence Condition 14 (Safety documentation) on the Burghfield site safety case that is currently under revision. I also undertook an intervention on the Mensa project regarding engagement between ONR and AWE for regulatory Permissioning.

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


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

AWE Burghfield compliance against Licence Condition 14 (LC14 – Safety documentation) was rated at Significantly Below Standard. This was principally due to discrepancies between AWE’s arrangements under LC14 and the implementation of those arrangements, along with failure of the site to recognise that problems in this area may exist.   Furthermore, our view was that AWE had not allowed sufficient time in their safety case programme for adequate production and review of the Burghfield safety case.

AWE’s Mensa Permissioning activities were discussed. We agreed that ONR would undertake targeted and proportionate early engagement as the project progresses with a view to maximising the efficiency of the permissioning process.

Conclusion of Intervention

AWE should monitor their safety documentation production process to ensure that it complies with their extant arrangements or review their arrangements.  Furthermore, AWE should ensure that its planning processes allow sufficient time for the preparation and review of safety cases in their safety case production programmes.  ONR will continue to progress these matters with AWE as regulatory issues.  

Targeted and proportionate early engagement will form a key part of ONR’s intervention strategy for Project Mensa.