Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Plutonium Management Facility - North (PMF-N) - Planned licence compliance inspection covering compliance inspection of Licence Condition 32 (Accumulation of radioactive waste) at Sellafield

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interaction with the Sellafield site licensee (Sellafield Limited, SL) against a strategy defined by the ONR Sellafield Programme. In accordance with that strategy, a Licence Condition (LC) compliance inspection in the Plutonium Finishing and Storage Facilities Operating Unit (PF&S OU) focusing on PMF (N) was carried out, as planned, in April 2017. 

The purpose of this inspection was for the ONR to determine the adequacy of implementation of the licensee’s formal arrangements for compliance with LC 32 (Accumulation of waste).

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

LC 32 requires the licensee to make and implement adequate arrangements for minimising so far as is reasonably practicable the rate of production and total quantity of radioactive waste accumulated on the site at any time and for recording the waste so accumulated.

On 25 April 2016, I carried out a one-day, on-site LC 32 compliance inspection in the PMF (N) facility. The inspection comprised discussions with SL staff, a plant walk-down, and reviews of plant records and other documentation. As part of my preparation for the delivery of this intervention, the following formal ONR guidance documentation was used:

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

This was not a system based inspection, and therefore no judgement has been made of the adequacy of implementation of any part of the safety case.

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

During my inspection, I examined operational activities to ensure that all waste arising from such activities within a targeted sample of the plants that comprise the PMF (N) facilities was adequately managed, and that sufficient and effective waste management streams existed for all waste generated as a result of plant operations.

I observed that the staff interviewed had a good knowledge with respect to implementation of the site’s arrangements for LC32 and the management of the various waste streams, and provided good evidence to this effect in response to my questions. 

Through conversations with shop floor staff it became clear there was a strong commitment by everyone to manage waste streams correctly, whether it is through waste reduction or ensuring waste is segregated correctly. I welcomed this commitment as it provides a good base to continue to develop the culture around the management of waste.

I judged that, on the evidence sampled, the licensee has complied with all legal duties and therefore, it is my opinion that, against compliance with Licence Condition 32, an IIS rating of Green (No Formal Action) is merited.

Conclusion of Intervention

My findings were shared with, and accepted by, the licensee as part of normal inspection feedback. I have raised no Regulatory Issues as a result of this inspection.