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 licence conditions, in particular targeting those facilities with the potential to give rise to off-site effects to the public.

This planned licence condition inspection was carried out to assess Sellafield Ltd's (SL's) compliance with licence condition (LC) 22 - Modification or experiment on existing plant, at the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) at Sellafield.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

LC 22 requires SL to "make and implement adequate arrangements to control any modification or experiment carried out on any part of the existing plant or processes which may affect safety."

I carried out a one day licence condition compliance inspection against licence condition 22 utilising the following ONR inspection guidance:

In addition I held a number of routine information sharing and update meetings with senior members of the THORP management team. These are not detailed further in this executive summary.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

This was not a System Based Inspection.

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

THORP has made significant improvements in the number of overdue Plant Modification Proposals (PMPs), however sustained effort will be required to secure further reductions in accordance with THORP's burndown curves.

THORP should seek to ensure that those PMPs which are outstanding due to document update requirements or awaiting outstanding signatures should be promptly addressed. This is to further reduce the number of outstanding PMPs and to allow increased focus on those PMPs where greater oversight may more beneficial.

THORP is implementing the new site Temporary Plant Intervention process in a systematic and structured way which should result in a much more effective outcome. The roll out of this process is being led by the recently constituted operational standards and compliance team.

Conclusion of Intervention

On the basis of the evidence gathered during this inspection, I judge that an inspection rating of GREEN (No formal action) is appropriate for compliance against LC 22 (Modification or experiment on existing plant). This is because I found SL to be compliant with its legal duties with only minor areas for further improvement being identified.