Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Planned joint intervention with the Environment Agency

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

A planned joint intervention with the Environment Agency to inspect the licensee's arrangements relating to the accumulation of radioactive waste on the site. I also participated in the quarterly regulatory review meeting between the licensee and the regulators, reviewing decommissioning project progress, events and other safety metrics. The intervention formed part of the planned 2016/2017 Intervention Programme for the Springfields Fuels Limited site.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I inspected aspects of the licensee's implementation of Licence Condition 32 compliance arrangements, relating to the accumulation of radioactive waste on the site, as a joint intervention with the Environment Agency.

I participated in the quarterly regulatory review meeting between the licensee, the National Nuclear Laboratory Limited (NNL) tenant organisation and the regulators. The intervention was informed by ONR's guidance requirements (as described in our technical inspection guides) in the areas inspected, specifically the Technical Inspection Guide for Licence Condition 32, NS-INSP-GD-032, Rev 3, July 2016.

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

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

For the Licence Condition 32 compliance intervention, I had previously sent the licensee a number of questions, derived from the Licence Condition 32 inspection guide and customised to the licensee. At the meeting, the licensee tabled an acceptable written response to each of these questions, which informed my intervention. This intervention was further informed by the potential curtailment of legacy uranic residue processing, as a result of funding constraints applied by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, (NDA), one consequence of which would be that materials currently regarded as uranic residues awaiting processing by the licensee will be declared as radioactive waste. I therefore inspected the licensee's compliance arrangements relating to radioactive waste and aspects of the implementation of those arrangements, with an acceptable outcome.

At the quarterly regulatory liaison meeting, the licensee reported limited progress with decommissioning projects, as the provision of funding to the licensee for these projects had been curtailed. The licensee reported adequate progress against a broad range of nuclear safety performance metrics and also provided acceptable assurance to me that the licensee was promptly implementing some useful minor learning, arising from a criticality safety shortfall event at a fuel production facility in the USA.

Conclusion of Intervention

I concluded that an inspection rating of green, adequate, was warranted for the planned joint intervention with the Environment Agency. The licensee adequately demonstrated the implementation of Licence Condition 32 compliance arrangements across a range of aspects sampled during this intervention. The licensee's arrangements and their implementation can adequately address the potential declaration of ‘process residues awaiting further processing' as radioactive waste. From the evidence gathered during this intervention, I concluded that there were no matters that may significantly impact on nuclear safety.

I concluded that the regulatory liaison meeting had been useful, the licensee reporting against a range of nuclear safety performance metrics and providing updated information on two level 4 regulatory issues. No intervention rating was warranted for this meeting.