Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Planned inspection at the AWE Aldermaston

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

This report covers a planned inspection at the AWE Aldermaston Licensed Site and was undertaken in accordance with ONR's Integrated Intervention Strategy (IIS) for the Atomic Weapons Establishment Programme.

The inspections undertaken at the Aldermaston Licensed Site form part of a series of planned interventions in accordance with the IIS and Integrated Intervention Plan (IIP). The purpose of the intervention was to undertake an inspection of compliance with Site Licence Condition 35 (Decommissioning), as planned in the weapons inspection plan.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The intervention was performed in line with ONR’s guidance requirements (as described in our technical inspection guides) in the areas inspected.

ONR conducted a planned inspection against LC35 (Decommissioning). We met with the licensee's personnel, sampled AWE procedures and formed a view on their delivery of hazard reduction on the AWE Aldermaston site.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

This was not a Safety System Inspection.

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

We sampled the licensee's higher level documented management systems that control decommissioning across the AWE sites. We found these to be generally appropriate but with some updating required which AWE is already progressing. The local arrangements which provide more detail for the decommissioning project were in need of updating to reflect the current status. It is AWE's intention that this will be overseen by the recently initiated Decommissioning Integrated Project Team (DIPT)

There continue to be delays to progressing decommissioning due to the need to produce a modern safety case before starting work on the more significant radiological hazards that remain. AWE's DIPT brings accountable and interested parties together to progress decommissioning. This initiative is at an early stage but we anticipate this will help address some of the difficulties AWE face. However, although progress has been made previously, at the time of the inspection the pace of decommissioning fell short of what we considered to be appropriate.

Conclusion of Intervention

Based upon the findings from this inspection, we judged that there was a shortfall in the pace of decommissioning progress and a rating of amber was considered appropriate for the intervention.