Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Licence Condition 35 (Decommissioning) compliance inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

Planned compliance intervention to inspect the implementation of licence condition 35 (Decommissioning) arrangements at the site and to meet with the NDA and licensee together, to understand and provide regulatory advice to NDA on its uranics strategy review. This intervention formed part of the 2016/2017 Intervention Programme for the Springfields Fuels Limited site.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I inspected aspects of the implementation of the licensee's decommissioning arrangements, during joint discussions and a site visit involving the licensee, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the Environment Agency. Regulatory advice was also provided to NDA on the uranics strategy review. My intervention was informed by the current ONR Technical Inspection Guidance document for licence condition 35, (NS-INSP-GD-035), as well as recent dialogue with the licensee and NDA separately, regarding the proposed longevity of uranic residue processing at Springfields and decommissioning project timescales.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

As no safety system inspection was undertaken, this was not applicable to this intervention.

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

This was a useful discussion between the licensee, NDA, ONR and the Environment Agency, primarily to discuss the proposed longevity of uranic residue processing at Springfields, together with the licensee's proposed decommissioning programme.

I provided regulatory advice, which informed the licensee's proposed legacy uranic residue processing programme, as well as providing the regulatory perspective to inform the current NDA uranics strategy review.

The regulatory advice provided was supportive of the licensee's ongoing hazard reduction work through legacy uranic residues processing, using the UK's only facilities at Springfields to do this, to achieve a more stable, less hazardous form of uranium, which would be suitable for safe longer term storage. If uranic residues processing was to be curtailed, then the regulatory expectations associated with a potential declaration of these residues as radioactive wastes were explained to both the licensee and NDA.

Conclusion of Intervention

I concluded that an inspection rating of green, adequate, was warranted for the planned licence condition 35 (Decommissioning) aspects of this intervention. This was a joint intervention with Other Government Departments, (OGD), this aspect not being rated. The ratings took into account the constructive discussions on the role of future uranic residue processing, for both decommissioning at Springfields and as part of the NDA's uranics strategy review, for which I gave regulatory advice.