Office for Nuclear Regulation

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System Based Inspection (SBI15) - Fuel Assemblies at Hartlepool Power Station

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 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 system based inspection (SBI) to confirm the implementation of safety claims made on reactor fuel assemblies. This inspection was undertaken by the ONR site inspector and two specialist inspectors. During this intervention we examined NGL’s compliance with the following nuclear site licence conditions (LCs), which are applicable provisions of the Energy Act 2013:

In addition, the ONR site inspector undertook an inspection to evaluate compliance with LC36 (Organisational Capability). The site inspector also attended the annual emergency arrangements review meeting and 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 fuel assemblies system, we judge that overall this system fulfils the requirements of the safety case.

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

System based inspection – fuel assemblies

From the areas targeted and the evidence examined during this inspection, we consider that NGL has implemented those safety case claims that relate to the reactor fuel assemblies. The inspection identified several areas of good practice including the arrangements used to train and assess the competence of criticality specialists. We also found that NGL is making progress in managing the risk of obsolescence of systems which monitor activity of the reactor coolant gas.

A minor non-compliance was noted in respect to identification of limits and conditions for coolant gas activity. NGL confirmed that it intended to address this issue via a planned safety case update. ONR will monitor progress via an existing ONR issue.

We identified that minor improvements could be made to maintenance documentation. We also asked NGL to review the risks associated with charging battery powered pallet trucks in the Additional Fuel Build Facility. NGL has acknowledged these areas for improvement and raised actions to address them. An ONR regulatory issue has been raised to monitor completion of this work.

Overall we judged that the arrangements for the erection, inspection, and online monitoring of the integrity of reactor fuel assemblies generally met 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 34.

LC36 (Organisational Capability)

I reviewed the Station’s baseline statement and arrangements for management of organisational change. Overall, I was satisfied that the Station’s nuclear baseline was consistent with the principles identified in ONR’s guidance, warranting an inspection rating of Green.

Conclusion of Intervention

From the evidence sampled during this SBI inspection, we consider that the reactor fuel assemblies met the requirements of the safety case.

There are no findings from this inspection that could significantly undermine nuclear safety.  At present, no additional regulatory action is needed over and above the planned interventions at Hartlepool Power Station.