Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Adequacy of Health Physics Infrastructure to Support Timely Decommissioning

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This intervention was undertaken on 14th - 16th April 2015 at Sellafield Limited’s Sellafield nuclear licensed site in Cumbria.

This intervention is associated with the ‘removal of blockers’ strategic improvement theme under Sellafield Programme Operating Plan Objective 1.  Intelligence gathered by ONR inspectors has indicated that issues with health physics infrastructure supporting decommissioning work in the Separation Area is creating delays in priority hazard and risk reduction activities.  This intervention was undertaken to determine the significance of any potential issues associated with health physics infrastructure and to identify improvements such that hazard and risk reduction activities can be safely accelerated.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The intervention focussed on health physics infrastructure supporting decommissioning work within the Separation Area at Sellafield.  This infrastructure includes:

We visited the B314 and B41 changerooms and several decommissioning facilities including the Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP), the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond (FGMSP), and the Magnox Swarf Storage Silos (MSSS) and held discussions with personnel on their perceived effectiveness of the arrangements.  We also discussed the arrangements with the Active Area Services Manager who is responsible for ensuring the effective provision of the facilities, services and equipment associated with this infrastructure.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

N/A – a system inspection was not undertaken.

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

The key findings are detailed below:

SL should provide a strategy for addressing these shortcomings.  It should consider measures such as:

Conclusion of Intervention

It is my opinion that the current arrangements are generating unnecessary delays which may impact SL’s ability to safely accelerate hazard and risk reduction of priority decommissioning plants.  Consequently I have rated this intervention as 4 (below standard) and have raised an ONR Issue on this matter.