Office for Nuclear Regulation

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IRR99 Compliance Intervention in Analytical Services, Sellafield Ltd's nuclear licensed site at Sellafield, Cumbria

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interactions with Sellafield Limited (SL, the site licensee) against a strategy defined by the ONR Sellafield Programme.  This report captures the findings of a planned intervention that was undertaken in order to assess compliance with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99). The scope of this inspection was informed by information provided by Sellafield Ltd in their notification to ONR of a radiological event in the Analytical Services South Dispensary in June 2015.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99) identify the duties on radiation employers etc to protect people from the risks associated with ionising radiations. My inspection comprised discussions with SL, examination of plant documentation and a plant walk-down.

The licensee provided a summary of the activities undertaken by Analytical Services and its arrangements for ensuring compliance with IRR99.  Matters discussed included risk assessments, work instructions, control measures for restricting the spread of contamination, training and supervision of personnel and the radiological monitoring of personnel and articles.  A plant visit was then conducted to identify whether the licensee’s arrangements were being effectively implemented at the point of work.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

This intervention was not a safety system inspection.

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

My inspection of the South Dispensary incident identified several areas for improvement in the Licensee’s arrangements. It was my opinion that:

From my findings, I was satisfied that the temporary arrangements that have been implemented in response to the contamination incident are sufficient to prevent a recurrence in the short term.  I consider that further improvements to contamination control arrangements at the facility should be implemented.  This includes the setting of clear, consistent standards on contamination control by Sellafield Ltd; informed by expert advice from a Radiological Protection Adviser (RPA).  The Licensee should then implement these standards by adequate training and effective supervision.

I asked the Licensee to develop and submit to ONR a programme to deliver improvements to contamination control arrangements at Analytical Services.  I have raised an ONR Regulatory Issue in order to track SL’s progress in this regard.

Conclusion of Intervention

It was my opinion that several areas were identified that challenge the licensee’s compliance with IRR99.  However, from my findings it was my opinion that there was not an imminent threat to the radiological safety of workers or the public. I was reassured by the fact that SL has employed new personnel in management and radiological protection positions who recognise the shortfalls and have committed to implementing the necessary improvements.  It is my opinion that on balance a rating of 4 (below standard) is appropriate.  ONR will monitor the improvements in order to ensure that they have been effectively implemented in a timely manner.