Office for Nuclear Regulation

This website uses non-intrusive cookies to improve your user experience. You can visit our cookie privacy page for more information.

Compliance inspections against Licence Condition (LC) 24, 26 and 28 Inspection in the Utilities area on Sellafield Ltd.’s nuclear licensed site in 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.  My planned inspection schedule for the current regulatory year (covering April 2015 - March 2016), the content of which is guided by that strategy, identifies the Licence Conditions (LCs) that will be inspected over this period. 

This planned intervention was undertaken over 11-12 August 2015 to determine if the Utilities organisation, the provider of all essential site services, e.g. water, steam, electricity, compressed air etc., is adequately implementing SL’s site-wide arrangements for compliance with Licence Conditions 24, 26 and 28 with respect to the site’s compressed air system.

This system is important to nuclear safety as it supports a number of important functions across the site, including operation of safety-significant valves, pneumercators and air lifts, as well as sample and product conveyance systems. A previous inspection had been carried out in November 2013. Following previous equipment failures in 2009 and 2013 due to vulnerabilities of the cooling water supply to the compressors, SL are in the process of completing works to install new additional compressors with cooling services that are independent of the current system. My inspection has targeted the older compressor units, this new work, and the site wide ring main.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

Licence Condition 24 (LC24) requires that all operations which may affect safety are carried out in accordance with written operating instructions.

 My inspection, which comprised discussions with SL staff, examination of plant documentation, and physical inspection of plant and equipment focussed on the following areas:

Licence Condition 26 (LC26) requires that no operations are carried out which may affect safety except under the control and supervision of suitably qualified and experienced persons appointed for that purpose by the licensee.

My inspection, which comprised discussions with SL staff, examination of plant documentation, and physical inspection of plant and equipment focussed on the following areas:

Licence Condition 28 requires the licensee to make and implement adequate arrangements for the regular and systematic examination, inspection, maintenance and testing of all plant which may affect safety.

My inspection, which comprised discussions with SL staff, examination of plant documentation, and physical inspection of plant and equipment focussed on the following areas:

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable; this was not a Safety System inspection.

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

I consider that SL’s arrangements for compliance with LC 24 have been effectively implemented for the Utilities site wide compressed air system.  There were a number of areas of good practice, and a number of minor improvements that could reasonably be made, all of which were accepted by the licensee.  For instance, SL staff displayed a thorough knowledge of this system, with an appropriate recognition of its importance to nuclear safety. These are, however, offset by the need for further development in the determination of Operating Rules, Required Operating Instructions and Operating Assumptions, and the identification and role definition of Duly Authorised Persons (DAPs).  For these reasons, as a result of this inspection I consider an IIS rating of 3 (Adequate) is merited against LC24.

I consider that SL’s arrangements for compliance with LC 26 have been effectively implemented for the Utilities site wide compressed air system.  There were a number of areas of good practice, and a number of minor improvements that could reasonably be made, all of which were accepted by the licensee.  For instance, the workshop area was well organised indicating a good level of control and supervision, and pride in the facility. This is offset, however, by the need for SL to complete its review of the requirements for DAPs associated with the compressed air system, and implement the findings of this review.  For these reasons, I consider an IIS rating of 3 (Adequate) is merited against LC26 as a result of this inspection.

I consider that SL’s arrangements for compliance with LC 28 have been effectively implemented for the Utilities site wide compressed air system.  There were a number of areas of good practice, and a number of minor improvements that could reasonably be made, all of which were accepted by the licensee.  For instance, SL has identified a number of improvements to the system to improve equipment reliability and performance, some work is currently in progress and some planned for the future. This is offset, however, by the need for SL to improve the physical protection of some features associated with the new compressors to prevent accidental damage or inadvertent operation.  For these reasons, I consider an IIS rating of 3 (Adequate) is merited against LC28 as a result of this inspection.

Conclusion of Intervention

My findings were shared with, and accepted by, the licensee as part of normal inspection feedback. No ONR Regulatory Issues were raised as a result of this inspection.