IRR99 Inspection of HALES Operating Unit
- Site: Sellafield
- IR number: 16-028
- Date: May 2016
- LC numbers: N/A
Purpose of intervention
This report presents the findings of a planned intervention that was undertaken at the at the Sellafield nuclear licensed site in order to assess Sellafield Limited's (SL) compliance with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99) within the Highly Active Liquor Evaporation and Storage (HALES) operating unit. The intervention was part of ONR's 2016-2017 planned programme of inspections of the Waste and Effluent Disposition Directorate (WEDD) - PP5.
Interventions Carried Out by ONR
The intervention consisted of an inspection of controlled areas in two buildings and a walkdown of external areas within the operating unit. The HALES radioactive source store and the implementation of controls over the use of radioactive sources were examined in detail. A range of documentation, including risk assessments, local rules, emergency operating instructions (contingency plans), the radiological survey schedule and survey records was also examined during the intervention.
IRR99 is concerned, among other things, with ensuring that work with ionising radiations is conducted safely. I assessed the adequacy of SL's arrangements for the control of work with ionising radiations, focussing on compliance at HALES with the following aspects of IRR99:
- Regulation 7 Prior risk assessment etc
- Regulation 8 Restriction of exposure
- Regulation 11 Dose limitation
- Regulation 12 Contingency plans
- Regulation 14 Information, instruction and training
- Regulation 17 Local rules and radiation protection supervisors
- Regulation 19 Monitoring of designated areas
- Regulation 27 Sealed sources and articles containing or embodying radioactive substances
- Regulation 28 Accounting for radioactive substances
- Regulation 29 Keeping and moving of radioactive substances
Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate
N/A. This intervention did not include a safety system inspection.
Key Findings, Inspector's Opinions and Reasons for Judgements Made
Based on the work areas and work activities examined, I found that arrangements for the control of work with ionising radiations within the HALES operating unit were adequate. In particular:
- Local Rules contained appropriate information and were prominently displayed at the required locations.
- The radiological safety information provided in risk assessments, emergency operating instructions and local rules was clear and concise.
- All installed personnel monitoring equipment (frisk probes and whole body contamination monitors) within the plant visitors' and main changerooms were working when inspected.
- The arrangements for the training of Health Physics Monitors (both trainees and apprentices) appeared adequate.
- The arrangements for the control, storage and accountancy of radioactive sources appeared robust.
- During an operational decision-making meeting to discuss action to be taken following the discovery of high radiation levels during work to withdraw a resistance thermometer from a Highly Active Storage Tank (HAST), the participants demonstrated appropriate knowledge of, and regard for, radiological safety.
I noted two examples of good practice:
- Arrangements for the issue of radioactive sources from the source store only allow a source to be issued to a single authorised source user and require that the source be returned before the end of that individual's shift - no temporary storage of sources outside the main store is permitted.
- Effective three-part communication was demonstrated within the operational decision making meeting, particularly during the allocation of actions to individuals.
Conclusion of Intervention
From what I observed and examined, SL's arrangements for the control of work with ionising radiations and their implementation indicate that there are no shortfalls of compliance with IRR99 within the HALES operating unit. Consequently, I have rated the intervention as Green (No Formal Action).