Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Sellafield – Essential Operations Inspection of the Active Area Service

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

The current ONR regulatory strategy for Sellafield Ltd (SL) is focussed on stimulating, facilitating and expediting hazard and risk reduction. ONR has a number of planned interventions in place to ensure hazard and risk reduction activities are delivered safely.

There are also a number of supporting functions at site that play a key role in delivery of hazard and risk reduction. These would not normally warrant attention from ONR on the basis of their low off-site consequence, but ONR is keen that such functions have sufficient reliability and resilience such that they do not have the potential to prevent hazard and risk reduction activities at the earliest opportunity.

The intervention reported in this record is one of a series of ‘essential operations inspections’ in accordance with ONR’s Sellafield programme strategy, designed to provide ONR with confidence that such functions can adequately facilitate sustained hazard and risk reduction activities.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

This intervention focused specifically on SL’s active area services provision of work wear and PPE that are essential to sustain site operations in radiological areas which facilitate the site hazard and risk reduction activities. I sought to gain practical confirmation of the availability and reliability of radiological area PPE supply including during the periods for maintenance outages.

The inspection was undertaken at the Sellafield site on the 9th November 2016 and comprised of desktop based discussions, facility inspections and dialogue with the supply chain.

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

SL has embarked on a number of improvement plans covering the laundry, medium active, high active and safety equipment supply. The aim of these improvements is primarily to improve efficiency, but in doing so will also improve overall stock/process management and end user experience.

Based on the evidence sampled;

I consider there to be suitable and flexible arrangements to ensure laundry processes are maintained.

Sufficient PPE stock is available on site to cater for normal demand levels. However the process requires operational facilities to initiate the replacement orders for restocking local stores and provide advance warning to the supply chain organisation if demand is expected to change beyond normal operations.

SL has recognised through a management investigation that operational facilities had not identified contacts for the co-ordination of PPE supplies. This role is important to ensure that stock holdings are maintained and fluctuations in supply anticipated. Actions from the management investigation have yet to be formally declared, however interim arrangements have been put in place.

Whilst I recognise that there is still work to do, I support the efforts of the SL Senior Operations Manager – Facility Services in engaging with the site to identify opportunities for process improvements in the area of PPE supply.

Conclusion of Intervention

I consider there to be suitable and flexible arrangements to ensure laundry processes are maintained and from the areas sampled, sufficient PPE stocks were available on site.

Recent changes to the laundry operating model will provide improved confidence that sufficient work wear garments are made available at the facilities changing rooms. However it is too soon to determine the success of the improvements. It is for this reason I have raised a Regulatory Issue to monitor the implementation of the improvements through normal regulatory business.

Noting that interim arrangements have been put in place for identifying a PPE co-ordinator for each of operational facilities, I consider it appropriate to let the SL management investigation into operational PPE shortages conclude its due process and monitor the adequacy of the actions placed through liaison with the ONR INF1 event owner.

As all the processes reviewed during this essential operations inspection have been subject of an SL improvement process with changes still being implemented, I consider it appropriate to identify operating facilities PPE stores management as a candidate for an essential operations inspection during 2017/2018.