Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Fire Detection, Supression, Barriers, Doors and Dampers at Hartlepool Power Station, EDF Energy

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 ONR’s Operational Facilities Division intervention strategy.

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 station’s fire detection, suppression and protection systems. Through examination of these systems, compliance inspections were performed against the following Licence Conditions (LC), which are applicable provisions of the Energy Act 2013:

The site inspector also performed follow-up enquires into the circumstances surrounding a fuel oil leak which occurred during a test of a diesel engine forming part of the station’s high pressure back-up cooling system (HPBUCS).  The site inspector also met with NGL staff to discuss the progress of regulatory issues 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 fire detection, suppression and protection systems, we judge that overall this system fulfils the requirements of the safety case.

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

SBI 11 - fire detection, suppression and protection systems

Based on the evidence examined during this inspection, we consider that generally NGL has implemented those safety case claims that relate to the fire detection, suppression and protection systems. During the inspection we found that Hartlepool power station has effective arrangements to monitor and ensure the availability of fire protections systems claimed within the nuclear safety case. We found that adequate training is provided to operations staff in the use of these systems and (for staff in the station’s incident response team) in fire and rescue techniques. Overall we judged that the arrangements for management of fire detection, suppression and protection systems generally met relevant good practice and therefore we have given an intervention rating of Green in relation to compliance with LCs 10, 23, 24, and 27.

During our inspection we noted that NGL had experienced some challenges in relation to a project to address obsolescence in the fire jet fire suppression system. As a result a small backlog of minor maintenance had accumulated. We also found that NGL were unable to justify the inspection frequency of fire barrier penetrations and seals identified on its maintenance schedule. In our opinion, more frequent surveys should be undertaken by the station. Due to these findings we awarded an ONR inspection rating of Amber against LC28. We will write to NGL seeking improvement. An entry on the ONR issues database will be raised to track these findings to resolution.

Follow-up enquires: HPBUCS Pump fuel oil leak

The fuel oil leak occurred on an engine which was being tested following replacement of a number of components including the engine’s fuel injector supply pipework. One of these pipes failed under test conditions. The intervention did not identify any significant breach of site licence conditions and I (the nominated site inspector) am satisfied that the incident does not meet ONR’s investigation criteria. However, some minor shortcomings were identified regarding the licensee’s maintenance procedures, technical oversight and quality assurance. ONR intends to write to NGL to seek improvements in these areas. Progress against these areas for improvement will be monitored by the site inspector during routine inspections of the power station. An entry on the ONR issues database will be added to track findings to resolution.

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. Four Green inspection ratings were made in relation to LCs 10, 23, 24, and 27. One amber rating was made in respect to LC28 compliance.

Two entries will be made on the ONR issues database to record the findings of SBI11 and the HPBUCS follow-up enquires. Two additional inspections will be added to ONR’s intervention programme to follow-up the minor shortcomings noted during the HPBUCS follow-up enquires.