Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Sellafield Ltd Fuel Handling Plant Readiness Inspection for Import of Pile Fuel Storage Pond Legacy Fuel

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This intervention was undertaken on 12 August 2015 at the Fuel Handling Plant (FHP) on Sellafield Limited’s (SL’s) Sellafield nuclear licensed site in Cumbria.

The FHP has been identified as a suitable location for interim storage of metal fuel from the Sellafield Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP), pending a long term disposal solution becoming available. The purpose of this intervention was to assess SL’s implementation of its Licence Condition (LC) 22 arrangements and gain assurance that FHP is in a state of operational readiness to safely receive and provide interim storage for this fuel. This intervention supports the ONR permissioning decision and is consistent with the ONR strategy to accelerate the risk and hazard reduction in the Sellafield legacy ponds.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The primary focus of this intervention was to inspect the FHP’s plant, processes and people to assess its readiness to safely receive and provide interim storage for this fuel. The readiness inspection was undertaken against LC 22 ‘Modification or experiment on existing plant’, which requires the licensee to make and implement adequate arrangements to control any modification or experiment carried out on any part of the existing plant or processes which may affect safety. 

We completed the inspection (which comprised desktop-based discussions and a plant walk down) against LC 22 in accordance with ONR guidance Technical Inspection Guide (TIG) NS-INSP-GD-022, LC22: Modification or Experiment on Existing Plant, Revision 3, December 2014.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

N/A – This was not a safety system inspection.

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

Based on the evidence sampled during this intervention, we have given an integrated intervention strategy (IIS) rating of 3, ‘Adequate’, for SL’s implementation of its LC 22 arrangements. With respect to TIG NS-INSP-GD-022, SL demonstrated:

We judge a higher rating wasn’t appropriate because SL still needs to complete its specified programme of work to be in a state of readiness to commence import of PFSP metal fuel.

Conclusion of Intervention

Based on the evidence sampled, we judge that SL’s implementation of its Plant Modification Process (PMP) is adequate; however, it still needs to complete its specified programme of work to be in a state of readiness to commence active commissioning. These aspects will be followed up by the SL internal regulator and reported within its summary report.

To support the ONR permissioning decision, we have requested that SL provides the following, when complete:

Clarity on the position and way forward with respect to the Site Ion Exchange Plant (SIXEP) buffer storage tanks sonar level system.