Office for Nuclear Regulation

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AWE Aldermaston planned inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

The purpose of this intervention was to conduct planned inspections of arrangements made under three Licence Conditions (LC), in accordance with inspection plans drawn up for AWE Aldermaston during 2016/17.

AWE has recently re-configured its Work Control Centres (WCCs) and AWE's Nuclear Safety Committee (NSC) noted (April 2016) that - "it is a significant change as the WCC controls work to ensure facilities stay within their safety case." Accordingly, ONR decided to undertake inspections of LC 10 ("Training"), LC 12 ("Duly Authorised and Suitably Qualified and Experienced Persons") and LC 26 ("Control and Supervision of Operations") arrangements, to focus on the functioning of the newly re-configured WCCs. The intervention was to inform ONR's views as to whether the WCCs continue to adequately fulfil their key safety role and to ensure that the licensee is compliant with its arrangements in the context of the supervision of operations by the WCCs, the training for WCC roles and the appointments to key WCC posts.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The inspections were conducted by an ONR Site Inspector assisted by an ONR Human Factors Specialist, and were conducted via:

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable.

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

The intervention was performed in line with ONR's guidance requirements (as described in our technical inspection guides) in the areas inspected.

LC 10 - From the totality of the evidence sampled during our LC 10 inspection, together with our detailed discussions with key licensee personnel, we are content that the licensee's arrangements for compliance with LC 10 meet ONR's expectations.

We sampled the licensee's compliance with its LC 10 arrangements, in the context of the training of staff within the new WCCs. Considerable work has been undertaken in constructing the job profiles for the new WCCs and it is commendable that these job profiles also consider key behavioural competencies. Evidence was presented that training for WCC personnel has been streamlined; ensuring training aligns with the new structure and focus of the WCCs. The streamlining has involved consultation with key stakeholders. Training matrices are in place and training delivery (where required) is in progress. We welcomed the licensee's future direction of travel with respect to a new Company wide training database - recognising that it is important for WCCs to be able to conduct checks on the training of staff conducting work. In our opinion the licensee's LC 10 arrangements, in the context of the WCCs, are being implemented appropriately, although we did identify some opportunities for minor improvements.

LC 12 - From our discussions with key licensee personnel and from the documentation we sampled, we are content that the licensee's arrangements for compliance with LC 12 meet ONR's expectations.

During our intervention, we sampled the licensee's compliance with its LC 12 arrangements, in the context of its definition of the requirements for and appointment of Suitably Qualified and Experienced Persons (SQEPs) and Duly Authorised Persons (DAPs) in the context of the new WCCs. The WCCs have no appointed DAPs but we found the SQEP requirements, for the roles in the new WCCs, to be clearly defined with a robust process in place for making appointments against these roles. A training matrix is in place for the WCC roles and any training gaps have been defined and consequent training delivery is in progress. In our opinion, in the context of the WCCs, the licensee's LC 12 arrangements are being adequately implemented.

LC 26 - From the totality of the evidence sampled during our LC 26 inspection and from our discussions with key licensee personnel, we were of the opinion that the licensee's arrangements for compliance with LC 26 did not currently fully meet ONR's expectations (as described in NS-INSP-GD-026 and NS-TAST-GD-049).

During the intervention, we sampled the licensee's compliance with its LC 26 arrangements in the context of the WCC's supervision and control of operations within AWE's high hazard facilities. We concluded that whilst some examples of good practice were identified, the licensee's arrangements were currently being redeveloped and are currently inconsistent. We noted deficiencies in access to information systems, allowing WCCs to check personnel deployed on work are fully qualified for the work to be conducted. In our opinion this undermines the licensee's capability to discharge the requirements of LC 26. We judge that this contributed to two recent incidents within active facilities. An 'Issue' has accordingly been recorded on ONR's 'Issues Database' to ensure the licensee remedies the identified deficiency.

Conclusion of Intervention

We are satisfied that the licensee is adequately implementing its LC 10 and LC 12 arrangements in the context of the new WCCs. Although advice was provided to the licensee, designed to deliver some minor improvements, no further regulatory action is required.

Noting the licensee's LC 26 arrangements are under extensive redevelopment, we nonetheless identified deficiencies in the implementation of the current arrangements and placed an action on the licensee requiring it to address these deficiencies. ONR will continue to engage with the licensee as it develops its new LC 26 arrangements.