This report records the findings of an intervention visit to the Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station during the 2016 periodic shutdown. The intervention was undertaken to confirm the adequacy of the work conducted by the licensee, EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Limited (NGL), to comply with the requirements of Licence Condition 28, examination, inspection, maintenance and testing.
I undertook on-site meetings and plant inspections with relevant staff from NGL to determine the adequacy of the work being undertaken on the reactor in complying with the requirements of Licence Condition 28. I concentrated my intervention on items I judged important to nuclear safety, focussed on structural integrity.
I sampled aspects of the inspection programme undertaken during the periodic shutdown on reactor systems that comprise of a pressure boundary with a nuclear safety significance.
I visited site approximately one third of the way through the periodic shutdown. The status of the inspections highlighted satisfactory progress on the surface and volumetric inspection programme, with 176 out of the 629 inspections completed at the time of this inspection.
I sampled the inspection work that had been undertaken as part of the surface and volumetric inspection programme, looking at both the inspection work itself and the categorising of the results, and was satisfied with what I found.
I sampled the operation of the licensee's Structural Integrity Panel (SIP) during my visit, by observing a SIP meeting. The SIP meets to review the inspection work undertaken during the periodic shutdown and sentences the inspection findings. I was satisfied that the SIP was following due process.
I undertook a plant walk down during my visit, escorted by the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) inspection engineer. NGL staff were able to provide satisfactory explanations of both the operation of the systems and the inspection/maintenance of the systems planned or already performed during the periodic shutdown.
I sampled video footage of the RPV inspection of the core support pads. The submerged footage was very clear and staff appeared to be following due process. No significant issues have been reported with the RPV inspections to date - visual and ultrasonic.
I discussed progress on examinations and inspections undertaken by the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR) Competent Person (CP) during the periodic shutdown. The work was progressing to plan and no significant issues had been found to date.
I discussed the progress of the flow assisted corrosion (FAC) programme to date. No adverse findings were reported and progress appeared to be reasonable given the timing of our inspection.
I judge that, at the time of my visit to the Sizewell B nuclear power station, personnel were conducting their inspections in line with the pre-outage intentions documentation and associated inspection specifications. The Licensee appears to be adequately managing any defects or anomalies identified.
I will use the minutes from the remaining SIPs to monitor for any emerging issues from the inspections that have yet to be completed and report on this in my structural integrity assessment report on the return to service of Sizewell B following its 2016 periodic shutdown.
Based on my intervention to date, I conclude that the licensee has performed the work to an adequate standard. I propose that an assessment rating of green is appropriate.