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.

Hinkley Point A nuclear licensed site planned intervention inspections

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

My intervention at Hinkley Point A was to undertake planned inspections of their compliance with licence conditions relevant to: incident reporting; authorised and suitably qualified and experienced persons; control of operations; and organisational capability. These activities are part of ONR's Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste intervention programme for Hinkley Point A.

I also took the opportunity to discuss with the site how decommissioning plans were progressing. This work should result in intermediate level waste being stored in a passively safe form on the site until a disposal route is available for the waste streams involved.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

For the compliance interventions I used ONR guidance on the licence condition being considered to judge how well Hinkley Point A was meeting the condition. I shared the aspects of the ONR guidance I would consider with site personnel prior to the interventions.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

This intervention did not include the inspection of a safety system.

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

I satisfied myself that Hinkley Point A was generally meeting relevant good practice in the areas I inspected when I compared them against ONR guidance on the licence condition under consideration.

Hinkley Point A showed me how they met licence condition (LC) 7 on incident reporting. I noted that the new Magnox Ltd arrangements for categorisation of incidents followed closely ONR guidance. However, in adopting the new arrangements, Magnox Ltd did not transfer the examples they previously adopted to help decide on the appropriate incident category. As a result there may be an inbuilt tendency to under report and thereby lose out on learning opportunities. I raised this concern with the Hinkley Point A management for their consideration.

My inspection for LC 12 on duly authorised persons (DAPs) and suitably qualified and experienced persons (SQEPs) showed that Hinkley Point A was applying relevant good practice in ensuring the individuals being appointed as SQEPs could demonstrate both understanding and had experience in performing duties that may affect the safety of operations on the site. This included duties required during control and supervision of operations and undertaking examination, inspection, maintenance and testing. With respect to DAPs the current system was fit for purpose but I suggested it may be appropriate to consider appointing staff with more intimate knowledge of the new plant being developed for future waste management.

For LC 26, control and supervision of operations and for LC 36, organisational capability, there had been no significant changes since my last inspection and I was satisfied that Hinkley Point A was meeting these licence conditions adequately.

Hinkley Point A updated me on progress with intermediate level waste strategies for fuel element debris and wet waste streams. I satisfied myself through asking questions that the site was in a good position to be able to produce adequate documentation to justify the safety of the proposed waste strategies from retrieval into temporary storage containers (for example, ductile cast iron containers) and 200 litre drums. (I advised that ONR was also looking for the justifications for pre-conditioning, conditioning, and encapsulation, and interim storage facilities to be developed for the long-term passive safe storage of the waste packages.

We discussed the value of enabling work using small quantities of fuel element debris and how this would help to underpin the proposed waste strategies and reduce the uncertainty from some of the early stages in the wastes' management. After presentation of the proposal and discussion I agreed that this would be appropriate.

Conclusion of Intervention

In the areas I inspected I satisfied myself that Hinkley Point A was adequately meeting the licence condition requirements. I discussed my findings with the Closure Director, his deputy and other site managers.