Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Plutonium Finishing and Storage Operating Unit (PF&S OU), 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, Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste (SDFW) Programme.  In accordance with that strategy, a Licence Condition (LC) compliance inspection at the Plutonium Finishing and Storage Operating Unit (PF&S OU) was carried out, as planned, in January 2017. 

The purpose of this intervention was for ONR to determine the adequacy of implementation of the licensee’s formal arrangements for compliance with LC 11 (Emergency arrangements) in the PF&S OU.  I focused on the evidence of compliance within all main facilities within the OU, as the ability to respond adequately to any reasonably foreseeable emergency scenario is a key claim within all PF&S OU facility safety cases.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

LC 11 requires that the licensee makes and implements adequate arrangements for dealing with any accident or emergency arising on the site, and their effects. On 24 January 2017, I carried out a planned, one-day, on-site LC 11 compliance inspection within the PF&S OU.  The inspection comprised discussions with SL staff, reviews of plant records and other documentation, and physical examination of equipment. In carrying out this inspection, the following ONR guidance was used:

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

I examined evidence of the licensee’s compliance with its emergency management arrangements, with a specific focus on the generation of an effective drills and exercise schedule for the current year. I also focussed on the quality of core training relating to emergency response as well as any Learning from Experience (LfE) within facilities in the PF&S OU.  Based on my samples, I judge that the licensee has implemented its arrangements adequately.

I consider that the licensee is compliant with its legal duties under LC 11, and that there are only limited opportunities for further ALARP improvements.  Therefore, it is my opinion that an inspection rating of Green (No formal action) is merited.

I consider the licensee presented good evidence in relation to the training and competence of its staff in respect of this licence condition. I recognised that the Licensee also captures actions from post exercise reviews but that some actions were still open, or were not followed up adequately. I consider that the Licensee could do more in this area.

From those areas sampled, I did not identify any significant shortfalls in the licensee’s formal arrangements for compliance which would prompt a further inspection of those arrangements earlier than currently planned. 

Conclusion of Intervention

My findings were shared with and accepted by the licensee as part of normal inspection feedback. I have not raised any Regulatory Issues as a result of this inspection.