Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Hartlepool - Planned Compliance Inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The purpose of this intervention was to undertake licence condition (LC) compliance inspections at EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Limited’s (NGL) Hartlepool Power Station, in line with the inspection programme contained in the Hartlepool integrated intervention strategy for 2017/18.

The intervention was carried out by the ONR site inspector, supported by a number of specialist inspectors.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

We performed a safety case informed system based inspection (SBI) of the pond and flask handling area. Through examination of these systems compliance inspections were performed against Licence Conditions (LC): LC 10 (training), LC23 (operating rules), LC24 (operating instructions), LC27 (safety mechanisms, devices and circuits), LC28 (examination, inspection, maintenance and testing) and LC34 (leakage and escape of radioactive material and radioactive waste).

Together with a member of the licensee’s own internal regulatory assurance function, we performed a themed inspection on the topic of Organisational Learning (OL). This included a licence compliance inspection of NGL’s arrangements for Licence Condition (LC) 7 - incidents on the site.

We also undertook a reactive inspection to evaluate the condition of two back up cooling system water storage tanks following the identification of corrosion by NGL. The site inspector also met with NGL staff to discuss the progress of regulatory matters at the station.  

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

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Following an SBI of the ponds and flask handling area, we judge that overall this system adequately fulfils the requirements of the safety case.

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

SBI: Pond and Flask Handling Area

From the areas targeted and the evidence examined during this inspection, we consider that NGL has implemented adequately those safety case claims that relate to the Pond and Flask Handling Area. During the inspection we found that Hartlepool power station has arrangements to ensure that the ponds and flask handling area is maintained and, as necessary, operated in accordance with the safety case. The arrangements were judged to meet legal requirements, in the areas sampled. The inspection identified a non-compliance in relation to the inspection and cleaning regime for the flask handling crane hoist brakes; and we noted that further opportunities exist to improve quality of the maintenance schedule for pond inspection. NGL committed to address these findings. Two ONR regulatory issues have been raised to monitor completion of this work.

Overall we judged that the arrangements in place for operation of the ponds and flask handling area were generally in accordance with relevant good practice and; therefore, we have given an intervention rating of Green in relation to compliance with LCs 10, 23, 24, 27, 28 and 36.

Organisational Learning

We examined NGL’s arrangements to investigate incidents and implement their findings. The station presented evidence to show how it was managing and making improvements to its corrective action programme. Based on a sample of incidents and the associated corrective actions identified, we judged that NGL has effective processes to manage and monitor the implementation of actions identified. With regard to the wider OL process we noted a number of positive outcomes and considered that the station was proactive in sharing these with the rest of the Fleet. The inspection identified minor areas for improvement; however, none gave rise to concern with respect to nuclear safety. Progress against these minor areas for improvement will be monitored by the ONR site inspector against an entry on the ONR issues database.

With regard to the LC7 aspects of this inspection we judged the standard of compliance to be generally in accordance with relevant good practice and therefore assigned a rating of green against LC7 compliance.

Water Storage Tanks

Following NGL’s identification of corrosion of  water storage Tank ‘A’, associated with the high pressure back-up cooling water system (HPBUCs), we examined storage Tank ‘B’. We were satisfied that NGL was able to provide supporting evidence to underpin its safety case claims in relation to storage Tank B and that operations remain within the limits and conditions established in the station’s safety case. 

We found that safety case claims that water could be obtained to supply the backup cooling systems from alternative sources of water stored on the site were valid. The inspection identified minor areas to improve the resilience of an alternative supply route however none gave rise to any concerns with regards to nuclear safety. NGL committed to address these opportunities for improvement which will be monitored by the ONR site inspector against an entry on the ONR issues database.

Conclusion of Intervention

From the evidence gathered during these inspections, it was judged that there were no matters that have the potential to impact significantly on nuclear safety.   

At present, no additional regulatory action is needed over and above the planned interventions of Hartlepool power station as set out in the IIS, which will continue as planned.