Office for Nuclear Regulation

This website uses non-intrusive cookies to improve your user experience. You can visit our cookie privacy page for more information.

Hartlepool Power Station - Compliance Inspection in support of Structural Integrity

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This report records the findings of an intervention visit to the Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station during the 2016 Reactor 2 periodic shutdown. The intervention was undertaken to confirm the adequacy of the work conducted by the licensee, EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Limited (NGL), to comply with the requirements of Licence Condition 28, examination, inspection, maintenance and testing.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I undertook on-site meetings and plant inspections with relevant staff from the licensee to determine the adequacy of the work being undertaken on Reactor 2 in complying with the requirements of Licence Condition 28. I concentrated my intervention on items I judged important to nuclear safety, focussed on structural integrity.

I sampled aspects of the inspection programme undertaken during the periodic shutdown on the steam and feed systems and other safety related systems external to the reactor pressure vessel. I also sampled aspects of the inspection programme undertaken on the metallic components internal to the reactor pressure vessel.

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

I visited site approximately 55% of the way through the periodic shutdown, according to the licensee’s programme. The status of the inspections highlighted satisfactory progress on the reactor external inspection programme, with 357 out of the 504 inspections completed at the time of my inspection.

I sampled the inspection work that had been undertaken as part of the reactor external inspection programme, looking at both the inspection work itself and the categorisation of the results, and was satisfied with what I found. 

I sampled the operation of the licensee's outage assessment panel (OAP) during my visit, by observing OAP meeting 192. The OAP meets to review the inspection work undertaken during the periodic shutdown and sentences the inspection findings. I was satisfied that the OAP was following due process and that the inspection items raised were sentenced appropriately.

I undertook a plant walk down during my visit, escorted by the OAP Chair. The licensee’s site staff were able to provide satisfactory explanations of both the operation of the systems and the inspection/maintenance of the systems planned or already performed during the periodic shutdown.

I sampled digital images from the inspections of the reactor internal components. I judged that due process was being followed satisfactorily. No significant issues that could affect the planned work were reported and no significant issues have been reported with the internal inspections to date.

I discussed progress on inspection, maintenance and testing activities associated with the Main Cooling Water system. The work programme was progressing according to plan, with the bulk of the inspections completed with no significant issues identified.

I discussed progress on examinations and inspections undertaken during the periodic shutdown, as required by the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR). No significant issues have been identified as a result of the inspections completed so far.

I discussed progress on steam and feed pipework hanger survey. The pre-outage hot hanger and post-trip cold hanger survey were complete and reported. The majority of remedial actions had been complete, with only a single priority 1 item outstanding for completion before sentencing through the OAP. Following the Return to Service (RTS), a post-outage hot survey will be performed.

At the time of my inspection, a number of emergent issues were raised related to the Boiler Closure Unit secondary restraints steelwork and super heater header weld inspections. These items are outside of my original inspection scope, however, they are relevant to examination activities related to assessing structural integrity. I have requested additional information on these items which will be assessed as part of my structural integrity assessment report, or will be accounted for by the project inspector in the LC30 project assessment report of the licensee’s application for consent to return to service.  One of the emergent issues regarding compliance against PSSR for a number of main steam circuit valves will be managed by the site inspector as part of normal regulatory business.

Conclusion of Intervention

I judge that, at the time of my visit to Hartlepool nuclear power station, personnel were conducting their inspections in line with the pre-outage intentions documentation and associated inspection specifications. The inspections conducted so far have not raised any nuclear safety significant issues of concern and the licensee appears to be adequately managing any defects or anomalies identified. I will use the minutes from the remaining OAPs to monitor for any emerging issues from the inspections that have yet to be completed and report on this in my structural integrity assessment report on the return to service of Hartlepool Reactor 2 following its 2016 periodic shutdown.

A number of emergent issues have been identified by the licensee during my inspection which will be assessed as part of the structural integrity assessment report or project assessment report supporting the LC30 consent for return to service of Hartlepool Reactor 2 following the 2016 periodic shutdown.

From the information that I have sampled during my inspection, I judge that, from a structural integrity perspective, the licensee has performed the examination, inspection, maintenance and testing work to an adequate standard against the requirements of LC28. At the time of my visit, and from my sample inspections, I found nothing that in my opinion would prevent Hartlepool Reactor 2 returning to service following completion of the 2016 periodic shutdown. I consider that a Green rating is appropriate for this inspection, warranting no formal action.