Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Urenco UK Ltd (Licensee) and Urenco CP (Tenant) - Inspection of compliance with Licence Condition 21 at the Tails Management Facility

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This was a planned visit in pursuance of ONR’s 2015-16 intervention programme for the Urenco Limited nuclear licenced 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.

The licensee for the Capenhurst site is Urenco UK Ltd.  The 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 21 (LC21), commissioning.

Commissioning has yet to commence at the TMF so this intervention focused mainly on the adequacy of both the licensee’s and the tenant’s arrangements and the proposed implementation of the arrangements.

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

In a wide-ranging sample I found evidence of good practise, and highly motivated and experienced staff.

Conclusion of Intervention

Overall, I found adequate compliance with Licence Condition 21.  The licensee has good arrangements for control and supervision of the tenant, and the tenant’s arrangements, while still in development, are also of good quality.  Training of personnel in the use of the procedures, and in the development of the same, is well advanced and will help to ensure compliance.  I found no issues that significantly affect nuclear safety, or that require me to take further regulatory action.