Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Planned and reactive interventions at Springfields

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

A planned and reactive intervention was made at Springfields Fuels Limited, initially to participate in the planned quarterly review meeting between the licensee, the NNL tenant organisation and the regulators.  I then conducted a planned site inspection of the proposed new Criticality Assembly Point facility, followed by a reactive discussion on the licensee’s proposed periodic review of safety cases.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I participated in a constructive planned quarterly review meeting between the licensee, the NNL tenant organisation and the regulators.

I conducted a planned site inspection of the proposed new Criticality Assembly Point facility, providing regulatory advice regarding some minor improvements

In response to a request by the licensee. I discussed some proposed emerging changes to the arrangements for the licensee’s periodic review of safety cases.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

No safety system inspection was undertaken, hence this was not applicable.

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

The useful quarterly regulatory liaison meeting between the licensee, the NNL tenant organisation and the regulators, was the usual open forum, enabling the effective sharing of information across a broad range of topics of regulatory interest.  The regulators discussed the outcomes of recent site interventions and were able to assess the licensee’s progress in delivering hazard reduction work at the site, notably with decommissioning projects, the processing of legacy uranic residue materials (from Springfields and other sites) and authorised disposals of solid radioactive waste, each of which were recently being delivered to acceptably agreed programmes.

I conducted a walk through the new proposed new Criticality Assembly Pont.  The licensee was clearly effectively managing the arrangements to prepare for a changeover from the existing Criticality Assembly Point.  Due consideration was being given to the training of site personnel in the complex suite of arrangements relating to the proposed operation of the new Criticality Assembly Point.  I was content that the licensee was currently effectively managing this project to changeover the Criticality Assembly Point arrangements, against a tight but achievable timescale.  Regulatory advice was provided on some potential minor improvements, during my accompanied site inspection.

I discussed the licensee’s implementation of arrangements for translating the uranium hexafluoride production safety cases from ‘operational’ to ‘care and maintenance’ mode.  I also discussed the licensee’s potentially revised arrangements for the periodic review of safety cases, which were encouragingly consistent with the methodology being developed at the ‘Safety Case Review Forum’ between the licensees and ONR

Conclusion of Intervention 

On balance, I concluded that an inspecting rating of “3”, adequate, was appropriate for this planned intervention. The meeting afforded the usual valuable opportunity for the regulators to discuss a broad range of topics of regulatory interest and to share information.  Generally acceptable progress was reported by the licensee with decommissioning projects, disposals of radioactive waste and the processing of a broad range of uranic residues.

Following my site inspection of the proposed new Criticality Assembly Point facility, I concluded that the licensee was effectively managing the project to changeover the Criticality Assembly Point, against a tight but achievable timescale.  Due consideration was demonstrated to the training of site personnel in the new arrangements, including the use of a training video and a limited emergency exercise, involving a significant number of personnel.  The licensee was receptive to the regulatory advice provided regarding some potential minor improvements.  An inspection rating of “3”, adequate, was considered appropriate for this site inspection.

The licensee’s proposed revised arrangements for the uranium hexafluoride safety cases, reflecting the transition from ‘operations’ to ‘care and maintenance’ mode, were being effectively managed.  In addition, the licensee’s arrangements for the periodic review of safety cases were concluded to be appropriate and in accord with the emerging approach being agreed between the nuclear licensees and ONR at the “Safety Case Review Forum”.  No inspection rating was warranted for this brief discussion with the licensee.