Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Hinkley Point A - Fire safety inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

An audit of fire safety was conducted at Hinkley A Power Station (Decommissioning) that focused on the themes of fire safety management and practical fire safety provision. Discussions were held with the site management and a tour of the main admin building and reactor 1 building took place before concluding with a final meeting with principal site management. A number of areas for improvement were identified; these are reported in items 2.1 - 2.11 below.

Generally the fire safety arrangements for this facility were adequate.

Purpose of Intervention

The purpose of the planned inspection was to ensure that the Licensee was showing compliance with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The inspection examined both the management of fire safety and the practical fire safety provision within at Hinkley A. The legislation focuses on life fire safety not nuclear fire safety issues. The Fire Safety Coordinator (FSC) was notified of the themes and areas to be inspected and was requested to provide pre-audit material to assist in the process; the material was provided in a timely fashion.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The site gave access throughout the day to senior managers and subject area experts. Accompanying me throughout the inspection was the Fire Safety Coordinator (FSC) and the Industrial Safety Engineer (ISE). The ISE is soon to take on the role and responsibilities of the FSC. These individuals were able to provide answers to questions and provide evidence of the sites' fire safety arrangements.

During my inspection, I challenged those accompanying me and others about procedures and approaches to the practical application of maintaining adequate fire safety provision. I questioned personnel to test the effectiveness and knowledge of arrangements. I examined several documents prior to my arrival on site. A considerable part of the day included a walk through areas of the site mentioned in 1 above. Particular attention was paid to the practical application of the fire safety strategy. This element of the inspection involved a detailed look at the physical application of both active and passive fire safety provisions.

I took the opportunity throughout the walk down phase of my inspection to point out examples of obstacles and fire safety issues that are likely to compromise the application of the fire safety strategy that is in place.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not Applicable

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

Key Findings

My overall impression was one of a management team which demonstrated a desire to ensure that fire safety is taken seriously and is given the due consideration it deserves. I have reiterated the advantages of producing a decommissioning phase fire safety strategy. This has been encouraged on previous inspections. The Fire Safety coordinator shows a very good attitude and a very high level of commitment to the role. It is important that the ISE, who is soon to take on this role, receives the support and assistance from the site lead team in order to ensure a smooth and effective transition. The ISE does not have a fire safety background and as such considerable development opportunities will need to be considered. The current FSC is remaining on site in a new role and as such it is hoped that he will be able to act as a mentor and point of reference in the initial phase of the new role. I was assured that this would be the case. I was pleased to note that the site management have identified the application of fire safety as a key element of the overall safety regime for those persons that work within this facility, particularly with the intended commencement of a number of large projects in 2017.

I did identify a number of shortfalls with the application of the expected fire safety standards described in more detail in the main body of the report which will be followed up to satisfactory closure as part of the post inspection procedure.

Inspectors Opinions

I am of the opinion that the Hinkley A Management Team displayed an appreciation of the importance of effective fire safety measures and that overall they show a desire to ensure that compliance with the relevant legislation is achieved.

Reasons for judgements made

The inspection involved a combination of looking into the management of fire safety and physically walking through the main admin office building and reactor 1 building. I questioned and challenged observations with the FSC and ISE.

Conclusion of Intervention

I concluded with an assessment of compliance with the legislation, and presented deficiencies and recognised areas of good practice at a wash-up meeting with the site management.

There are no major issues that require formal regulatory action to be taken, however there are a number of minor issues that when addressed will improve the current site arrangements; an action plan was requested by the 1/9/16 to confirm how site propose to progress each point detailed. I will continue to liaise with the FSC to confirm that they are resolved in a timely fashion.