Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Planned Unannounced Compliance Inspection of Licence Condition 26 at Operational Waste Facilities within the Remediation Directorate at Sellafield

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interaction with the Sellafield site licensee (Sellafield Limited (SL)) against a strategy defined by the ONR Sellafield Programme.  In accordance with that Strategy, a planned unannounced Licence Condition compliance inspection of operational waste facilities within the Remediation Directorate was carried out as identified within the Operational Waste Facilities planned inspection schedule.

This planned unannounced intervention was undertaken to determine if the Remediation Directorate is adequately implementing SL's site-wide arrangements required to demonstrate compliance with Licence Condition 26 (Control and supervision of operations).  Operational waste facilities that manage plutonium contaminated material were chosen because of the radiological hazard contained within these facilities.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

Licence Condition 26 (LC26) requires the licensee to ensure that no operations are carried out which may affect safety except under the control and supervision of suitably qualified and experienced persons appointed for that purpose by the licensee.

I carried out a one-day, on-site, Licence Condition compliance inspection of operational waste facilities within the Remediation Directorate. Specifically I targeted the Waste Treatment Complex, and the Engineered Drum Stores.

The inspection comprised discussions with SL staff; observation of Plant Operational Control Centres (POCCs); a partial plant walk down and examination of a sample of SL procedures.  The inspections were carried out in accordance with the following formal ONR inspection and assessment guidance:

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

N/A; this was not a Systems Based Inspection (SBI).

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

The inspection did not identify any significant shortfalls in implementation of arrangements required to comply with LC26.  All of the pre-identified operational waste facilities were inspected and a sample of operations staff questioned and observed.

I generated one minor regulatory finding associated with the implementation of the practice of ‘Plant Operations Control Centre' (POCC) which did not align to Sellafield Ltd Supporting Practice guidelines.  

I also made one observation associated with the clarity of building local rules at the entrance to an operational waste facility where SL accepted that an improved format would be beneficial.

SL accepted the inspection feedback and acknowledged that the use of the POCC structure in the newly created Remediation Directorate continues to develop.

Overall, from the evidence sampled during this inspection, I consider that SL has effectively implemented its arrangements for compliance with Licence Condition 26, and I have therefore assigned an inspection rating of Green (No formal action).

Conclusion of Intervention

My findings were shared with, and accepted by SL, as part of routine inspection feedback.