Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Inspection of fire safety at MSSS on the Sellafield site

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

I conducted an inspection of fire safety at MSSS on the Sellafield site that focused on the themes of fire safety management and practical fire safety provision. The purpose of the inspection was to ensure that the Licensee was achieving compliance with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. I held a meeting with the facility management and completed a tour of the selected facility on day 1 before concluding with a final meeting with principal management on day 2. I identified a number of areas for improvement; these are reported in items 2.1 – 2.12 below.

Generally the fire safety arrangements were Below Standard (AMBER).

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The site gave access throughout the two days to building managers and subject area experts. Accompanying me throughout the inspection was the Field Support Manager (FSM), the Building Manager (BM) and the Construction Manager (CM). These persons were able to provide answers to questions and provide evidence of the facilities’ 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 in a facility that is approximately 60 years old. I applied a degree of focus to the management of fire safety throughout this inspection. I questioned personnel to test effectiveness and knowledge of arrangements. I examined a series of documents prior to my arrival on site. The majority of the first day included a walk through a large proportion of the facility. This included a walk round the external perimeter. I paid particular attention to the practical application of the fire safety strategy. 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 existing fire safety strategy.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not Applicable.

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

My overall impression was one of a facility which requires a more focused application of the day to day management of fire safety. A number of issues were identified which highlight the need to manage fire safety, within what is a very dynamic and busy environment, with greater oversight and understanding.

Conclusion of Intervention

I concluded with an assessment of compliance with the legislation, and presented deficiencies at a wash-up meeting with the MSSS management team.

Overall my findings in relation to this inspection demonstrate a greater level of fire safety management and oversight is required to address the challenges posed by an operational facility which also includes numerous on-going projects.