Office for Nuclear Regulation

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ONR Readiness Inspection for Sellafield Ltd to Commence Active Commissioning of the Pile Fuel Storage Pond Sludge Transfer Route

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

On the 30 and 31 August 2016 the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertook an intervention on the Sellafield site to inspect Sellafield Ltd’s (SL) readiness to commence active commissioning of the Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) sludge transfer route, which included both the donor facility, PFSP and receiving facility, the Wastes Encapsulation Plant (WEP). The purpose of the intervention was to inspect SL’s implementation of its Licence Condition (LC) 21 arrangements for commissioning and gain assurance that PFSP and WEP are in a state of readiness to safely commence active commissioning.

The findings of the intervention will inform the permissioning decision on the regulatory hold points on PFSP and WEP commencing active operations associated with the PFSP sludge transfer route. This intervention is in accordance with ONR’s strategy to ensure delivery of activities and key enablers to support safe and secure risk and hazard reduction in the Sellafield legacy ponds.  

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The primary focus of this intervention was to inspect PFSP and WEP’s plant, processes and people to assess their readiness to safely commence active commissioning of the PFSP sludge transfer route. The readiness inspection was undertaken against LC 21 ‘Commissioning’, which requires the licensee to make and implement adequate arrangements for the commissioning of any plant or process which may affect safety. 

The inspection comprised desktop-based discussions and facility inspections of both PFSP and WEP and was undertaken against LC 21 in accordance with ONR guidance Technical Inspection Guide (TIG) NS-INSP-GD-021, LC21: Commissioning, Revision 4, March 2016.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

N/A – This was not a safety system inspection.

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

Based on the evidence sampled during this intervention, we have judged SL’s implementation of its LC 21 arrangements as Green for both PFSP and WEP. With respect to ONR’s TIG NS-INSP-GD-021, SL demonstrated that:

Conclusion of Intervention

Based on our findings, we judge that SL’s implementation of its LC21 commissioning arrangements for PFSP and WEP are adequate. Based on the evidence sampled, no significant shortfalls were identified that would prevent permission being granted for SL to commence active commissioning of the PFSP to WEP sludge transfer route.

In relation to SL’s state of readiness for the proposed activities, PFSP and WEP need to complete their specified programme of work, which SL acknowledged. As a result of the intervention, we identified a number of actions that SL will have to provide evidence of completion, these relate to human factors substantiation, spares management, containment and command and control and will be monitored by SL’s internal regulator.