I undertook a system based inspection of Berkeley’s Shielded Facilities’ intermediate level waste (ILW) waste management project. This complemented an inspection carried out in 2016 on the ventilation system in the caves within the Shielded Facilities complex and was planned in pursuit of the Decommissioning Fuel and Waste sub-division strategy.
I met three of Berkeley’s Safety Representatives.
The site’s staff and I gave an ONR colleague an introduction to the nuclear safety work being undertaken on the site.
I inspected the work of the waste programme and Berkeley’s operations team on the Shielded Area Caves using the methodology used for a system based inspection. As a consequence I inspected the requirements of the licence conditions on training, operating rules and instructions, maintenance and testing and leakage and escape of radioactive waste against the safety case demonstrating safe operation of waste management in the caves.
I found the waste management programme and the Berkeley operations staff maintained the safety systems and structures so that they fulfilled their safety function and adequately implements the safety case for activities undertaken on waste in the Shielded Area Caves.
I was informed by Berkeley that work on the Shielded Area Caves involved interactions between the waste management programme and Berkeley’s operations team. Each needed to meet safety cases for different aspects of work affecting the caves to ensure safe operations. In the areas I inspected I found that these interactions worked adequately. Staff were adequately trained in the use and maintenance of the equipment needed to process the caves’ low level waste (LLW) and ILW. The main operating rule was that no-one should undertake work on the waste in the caves unless the ventilation system was working. This was also a key requirement to ensuring there was no leakage or escape of radioactive waste.
I found the design of the tent built around the posting port through which waste was removed from the caves appropriate for the work being undertaken and the interaction between the tent ventilation and the cave ventilation was addressed appropriately.
Staff were sent to equipment manufacturers to learn how to operate and maintain the equipment. Berkeley staff and the waste management programme also used expertise from other licensed sites to ensure the safety cases and the equipment were adequate for the waste management being, and still to be retrieved and made safe.
I judged, from my inspection, that the waste management programme and Berkeley’s operations team worked adequately together to maintain safe waste management activities within the caves in the Shielded Facilities Area and that the requirements of the safety case are being adequately implemented.