Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Planned System Inspection of the Safety Case Implementation followed by Observation of a limited Scale Demonstration Emergency Exercise

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

An intervention was made at Springfields Fuels Limited.  A planned system inspection was conducted of the safety case implementation at two facilities in the Oxide Fuels Complex. The following day, I observed a limited scale emergency exercise, to demonstrate the operation of the proposed new Criticality Assembly Point facility.  This intervention formed part of the ONR 2015/16 intervention plan for the Springfields site.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

A planned system inspection was made of the implementation of the safety case at two facilities within the Oxide Fuels Complex, (the enriched uranic powder export facility and the gamma spectrometry of LWR fuel pins). I was accompanied by a radioactive materials transport specialist inspector for this intervention. The focus of the system inspection was on ‘Operator Claims and Actions’, which informed the scope of this intervention.

Related to the proposed change to the licensee’s Criticality Assembly Point facility, a limited scale emergency exercise was observed of the demonstration of the operation of the proposed new facility. I was accompanied by two criticality safety specialist inspectors for this intervention.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

The outcome of the system inspection at the Oxide Fuels Complex was judged to be adequate.

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

The licensee delivered presentations demonstrating the application of key aspects of the extant nuclear safety case at two facilities in the Oxide Fuels Complex.  The first was the uranic powder export packaging facility and the second was at the Light Water Reactor (LWR) fuel pin gamma spectrometry facility.  Following the presentations, plant inspections were made of both of these facilities.  Discussions were held with plant operators and records of training, instructions and maintenance were sampled. The participation of an exemplary local safety representative, added value to this system inspection.

At both of the Oxide Fuels Complex inspection, the licensee adequately demonstrated the implementation of the nuclear safety case, with due regard to ‘operator claims and actions’.  Regulatory advice provided during the inspection was readily accepted by the licensee, identifying some minor opportunities for enhancements to safety.

The licensee adequately demonstrated the operation of the proposed new Criticality Assembly Point facility and following the demonstration emergency exercise, I concurred to the licensee’s proposal to change over from the old to the new Criticality Assembly Point facility in mid July 2015.

Conclusion of Intervention

On balance, I concluded that the licensee had adequately implemented key aspects of the nuclear safety case, at both of the two facilities inspected within the Oxide Fuels Complex.  Regulatory advice was provided to the licensee, during the course of the intervention, regarding some opportunities to improve compliance with the requirements of the nuclear site licence, good practice in alarm management, as well as drawing the licensee’s attention to some potential minor radiological contamination control improvements.  The exemplary participation of a local safety representative added significant value to this intervention and positively demonstrated aspects of the safety culture.

The observation of the limited scale demonstration emergency exercise enabled me to concur to the licensee’s proposal to changeover the Criticality Assembly Point facilities in mid July 2015.  As this was only a limited inspection of the ‘on site’ emergency arrangements, involving observation of a demonstration emergency exercise involving only a limited number of participants, from the licensee and the National Nuclear Laboratory Limited tenant organisation, no inspection rating was warranted.