Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Sellafield Ltd Readiness Inspection for FGMSP to Commence Active Transfers via the Bulk Sludge Retrievals Equipment

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This intervention was undertaken on 4 February 2016 at NES, Beckermet in support of the Sellafield Ltd (SL) First Generation Magnox Storage Pond (FGMSP) bulk sludge retrievals.

The purpose of this intervention was to assess SL’s implementation of its Licence Condition (LC) 22 arrangements and gain assurance that FGMSP is in a state of operational readiness to safely commence active sludge transfers via the bulk sludge retrievals equipment to the adjacent Sludge Packaging Plant (SPP1) for safe interim storage, pending a long term disposal solution becoming available.

This intervention supports the ONR permissioning decision on commencement of these operations 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 FGMSP’s plant, processes and people to assess its readiness to safely commence active transfers via the bulk sludge retrievals equipment. 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 inspection of the equipment factory acceptance testing) 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:

Conclusion of Intervention

Based on our findings, we judge that SL’s implementation of its LC22 arrangements related to the Plant Modification Proposal (PMP) process is adequate. Based on the evidence sampled, no shortfalls were identified that would prevent permission being granted for commencing active sludge transfers via the bulk sludge retrievals equipment. In relation to the state of readiness of the proposed modification, SL needs to complete its specified programme of work to commence active transfers to SPP1, which SL acknowledged.