Hunterston B planned Intervention
- Site: Hunterston B
- IR number: 16-198
- Date: January 2017
- LC numbers: 12, 21
Purpose of intervention
The purpose of this intervention was to undertake a system based inspection at EDF Nuclear Generation Limited’s (NGL’s) Hunterston B power station in line with the planned inspection programme contained in the Hunterston B Integrated Intervention Strategy (IIS) for 2016/17.
The inspection was undertaken by the nominated site inspector and a specialist internal hazards inspector.
Interventions Carried Out by ONR
During this intervention, inspections were undertaken against the following Licence Conditions (LC):
- LC 12 - Duly authorised and other suitably qualified and experienced persons
- LC 21 - Commissioning. This was supported by a specialist internal hazards inspector.
I also undertook a quarterly review of the station’s progress against regulatory issues and met with the station independent nuclear assurance team to review matters of mutual regulatory interest.
Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate
No system based inspection was undertaken during this intervention.
Key Findings, Inspector's Opinions and Reasons for Judgements Made
In relation to LC 12, I:
- Examined the station’s training and authorisation schedule for new and existing duly authorised persons undertaking control room posts. The programme is intensive and places ongoing demand on the simulator and its staff throughout the training year.
- Sampled the authorisation records for personnel recently authorised as duly authorised person (DAP) role holders. All records examined were up to date and in line with the company arrangements.
- Discussed with a recently authorised reactor desk engineer his authorisation records and timescale for seeking authorisation to control room supervisor (CRS). He was able to clearly articulate his general legal duties under the site licence and HSWA (1974) to an appropriate level of detail, and distinguished well the difference in control room responsibilities that the CRS role would demand.
- Examined the station’s arrangements for sampling SQEP status of contractors and oversight of term contractor sub-contractors. The supply chain manager reported that in September 2016, role compliance been measured at 99%, a notable recovery from a much lower compliance level reported in 2015. A level 4 regulatory issue will be placed on the station in relation to a need for the station to undertake a proportionate degree of oversight of term contractor supervision of its sub-contractors. In light of certain incidents elsewhere in the fleet of a conventional safety nature, the station should assure itself through appropriate sampling that sub-contractors are set to work to the right standards.
In relation to LC 21:
- We examined the commissioning test schedule (CTS) for evidence it was derived against the performance requirements of relevant safety functions. We verified it was sanctioned by the project safety review group in July 2016 in accordance with the Hunterston B site specific arrangements.
- We sampled commissioning test procedures and were assured there has been a significant input from operations in the development of the CTS; this will ensure timelier and more effective handover to operations.
- We examined records of commissioning tests completed to date, associated Technical Queries and strategies for resolution.
- We examined the strategy and timeline for eventual handover to plant operations. There remains some uncertainty over the timing of the formal training of operators, partly because of uncertainty over whether formal handover will be before the outage or after it. The process has been agreed and is shown in the plan It will include learning from the new nitrogen plant project. The station’s independent nuclear assurance (INA) team will carry out a readiness review prior to handover.
Our subsequent site walkdown revealed the good progress made since the December 2015 inspection. We noted significant progress had been made over the year, and that the project had surmounted some problems and still had a credible plan to meet the handover date.
I observed that several long-standing, albeit generally low-level in nuclear safety significance, regulatory issues persist. The station committed to maintain pressure on staff to deliver on action requests and secure prompt closure; he also committed to ensure that attention on routine management of regulatory issues is sustained to prevent future recurrence of the previous backlogs.
The intervention was performed in line with ONR's guidance requirements (as described in our technical inspection guides) in the areas inspected.
Conclusion of Intervention
From the evidence gathered during this intervention:
I considered that the station continues to be demonstrably compliant with its arrangements under LC 12; arrangements for training and authorising the next cohort of DAP operators and continuous training appear to be robust. This justifies an inspection rating of - ‘Green’.
In light of the good progress being made in the CO2 project and demonstrable alignment to the station arrangements under LC 21, we have allocated an inspection rating of ‘Green’ for LC 21.
There are no findings from this inspection that could significantly undermine nuclear safety.