Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) planned inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

In accordance with the Office for Nuclear Regulation's (ONR's) Sellafield Strategy, each year ONR performs a series of planned compliance inspections of core licence conditions, targeting those facilities with the potential to give rise to off-site effects to the public.

This planned, core licence condition inspection was carried out to assess Sellafield Ltd.'s (SL's) compliance with licence conditions (LC) 28 - examination, inspection, maintenance and testing and 36 - organisational capability, at the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) at Sellafield.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

LC 28 requires SL to "make and implement adequate arrangements for the regular and systematic examination, inspection, maintenance and testing of all plant which may affect safety."

LC 36 requires SL to "make and implement adequate arrangements to control any change to its organisational structure or resources which may affect safety"

I carried out two one day licence compliance inspections against licence conditions 28 and 36 utilising the following ONR inspection guidance:

In addition I carried out other plant visits including a short observation of radiological exit monitoring standards at the THORP 10m North Change room.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

N/A as this was not a safety systems inspection.

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

LC 28 Inspection

Overall I consider that SL demonstrated continued robust management of maintenance schedule delivery and significantly improved management of its normal plant maintenance backlog.

The introduction of monthly system metric reports will provide improved and more proactive management of system health. In addition I consider the introduction of more proportionate and more frequent short-form system health reports to be a positive development.

LC 36 Inspection

THORP has improved the visibility of its management of organisation capability and was able to demonstrate that organisational changes are being categorised, assessed and implemented appropriately in accordance with Sellafield's arrangements.

I nevertheless have some concerns as to whether the improvements to nuclear baseline management that SL seeks to achieve will be fully supported by its new OPMS training record system.

I consider that THORP demonstrated appropriate management in its response to a small number of instances where minimum manning levels were temporarily not met.

Radiological Exit Monitoring Standards Observation

I considered that the radiological monitoring standards observed were generally adequate with an appropriate understanding of their importance being demonstrated by the staff I interviewed.

Conclusion of Intervention

On the basis of the evidence gathered during these inspections, I judge that inspection ratings of GREEN (No formal action) are appropriate for compliance against both LC 28 (Examination, inspection, maintenance and testing) and LC 36 (Organisation capability). This is because I found SL to be compliant with its legal duties with only minor areas for further improvement being identified.