Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Planned intervention at Devonport Royal Dockyard Limited site

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This intervention at the Devonport Royal Dockyard Limited (DRDL) licensed site was undertaken as part of the 2015/16 intervention plan and propulsion sub-programme strategy.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

As part of this intervention we examined DRDL’s licence condition (LC) arrangements for control and supervision of operations which may affect safety. The areas targeted were SRC production area and 9 Dock Facility Maintenance.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable

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

There was evidence of good stakeholder interactions during early planning activities and setting to work meetings. Supervisors and operatives understood the tasks they were performing and the safety implications of the work being conducted.

We observed adequate control of nuclear safety related tasks through the use of the bar code system and work authorisation processes. It is our opinion that DRDL should ensure individuals who hold nuclear safety responsibilities have the time necessary to fulfil their duties.

At the Submarine Refit Complex (SRC) plan of the day meeting observed during this inspection the nuclear safety significance of the work to be undertaken was not given the prominence typically expected.  In our opinion, DRDL should consider whether nuclear safety is appropriately considered at all levels of planning / briefings to ensure nuclear safety standard remain at the appropriate level.

For the 9 Dock Maintenance activities it was difficult to ascertain the nuclear safety significance of the tasks to be undertaken.  There was no clear distinction between nuclear safety significant, safety related and normal plant activities. In our opinion, a more graded approach to nuclear safety should be considered.

For the activities observed, we did not identify any significant concerns relating to supervision of work and adequate control was being applied.  However, based on the evidence sampled, we consider that DRDL’s arrangements do not provide a means by which a graded level of supervision can be identified i.e. there is no visibility of a graded approach to supervision of operations that may affect safety commensurate with the nuclear safety significance of the activities being undertaken.

Conclusion of Intervention

We judged that the licensee’s arrangements for control and supervision of operations which may affect safety and their implementation were adequate. There were some opportunities for improvement noted and shared with the licensee but no significant weaknesses were identified.