Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Inspection of Tail Management Facility TMF at Capenhurst under LC19

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This was a planned visit in pursuance of ONR’s 2015–16 intervention programme for the Urenco UK Limited nuclear licensed site at Capenhurst.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

A by-product of uranium enrichment is known as tails, depleted uranium stored in the form of uranium hexafluoride.  A major new plant, the Tails Management Facility (TMF), is being constructed at Capenhurst principally to convert these tails to an oxide of uranium, a chemical form more suitable for long-term storage.

TMF is being constructed by, and will be operated by, Urenco Chemical Plants Ltd (UCP), a tenant on the Capenhurst site.

This was the second of my two visits that together constituted an inspection of compliance with one of the conditions that are attached to the nuclear site licence, namely Licence Condition 19 (LC19), on construction or installation of new plant.  

In judging compliance I had first examined the adequacy of the arrangements that the licensee has made to control construction and installation.  At this visit I went on to examine some aspects of how these arrangements are implemented.  They included: how construction and installation had been divided into stages and how the transition from one stage to the next was regulated and authorised; how the design of the plant is controlled; how the licensee controls and supervises UCP.

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

In a wide-ranging sample I found evidence of good practice as well as parts of the arrangements that lack clarity or rigour and which therefore need to be improved. 

Conclusion of Intervention

Overall, I found adequate compliance with Licence Condition 19.  The licensee has begun a review of some of its arrangements, which should rectify the deficiencies referred to above.  I found no issues that significantly affect nuclear safety, or that require me to take further regulatory action.