Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Remediation - LC 11 and LC34 Compliance Inspection and Attendance at the WVP, HALES and Remediation Quarterly Review Meetings - 13-20 June 2017

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The purpose of this intervention was to carry out licence compliance inspections at the Waste Treatment Complex (WTC) and Engineered Drums Stores (EDS) on the Sellafield Ltd site in line with the planned inspection programme contained in the Operational Waste Facility (OWF-PP5) Integrated Intervention Strategy (IIS) for 2017/18.   

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I, the ONR Operational Waste Facilities site inspector, and an ONR fault studies specialist inspector, undertook an LC11 - Emergency Arrangements and a LC34 - Leakage and escape of radioactive material and radioactive waste compliance inspection of the WTC and EDS Facilities.  I also attended the High Level Waste Plants (HLWP), Highly Active Liquor Evaporation and Storage (HALES) and Remediation quarterly review meetings.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

No safety system inspection was undertaken, hence this is not applicable.

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

The last LC11 compliance inspection of this facility was undertaken in March 2017 and therefore the main purpose of this inspection was to follow up progress made on the actions raised during that inspection and recorded under ONR issue 5265.  The opportunity was also taken to discuss progress with ONR issue 5266 relating to Minimum Safe Manning Levels (MSMLs).

From the evidence provided I judge that adequate progress is being made to address the two ONR Issues and associated actions.  On this basis of this inspection I judge that compliance with LC11 meets the required standard and will be given a green rating.

Prior to the LC34 compliance inspection, I undertook a review of the company LC34 procedures against the relevant ONR guidance document for this licence condition, NS-INSP-GD-034 Revision 3.  From those areas sampled, I did not identify any significant shortfalls in the licensee’s formal arrangements for compliance which would prompt an inspection of those arrangements earlier than currently planned. 

In order to judge the adequacy of the implementation of the LC34 arrangements I focussed on the radioactive material being stored and handled in the facility, the form it took, how inventories are monitored and controlled, and how any leakage of escape is prevented.

The most mobile form of radioactive material handled by the facility is “squeezate”, a liquid which can be expelled from the drums during the compaction process.  Any liquid expelled is collected in a sump within the supercompactor glovebox and is manually transferred to another glovebox for treatment where it is immobilised within a grout. The potential amounts of liquids expelled are relatively small but would be observed by the operators during the compacting process. From the evidence reviewed, I judge that adequate controls are in place to contain this liquid throughout this process. I also judge that there are adequate arrangements to detect this material should a loss of containment occur.

In the case of solid radioactive material handled by the facility, the main form of containment is the 200 litre drum in which it is contained. During its processing, the main containment is the glovebox in which the process is contained. I judge that the controls in place to prevent any release of radioactive material were appropriate for the process.

On the basis of the areas sampled I judged that compliance with LC34 followed the relevant company procedures and met the required standard.  I therefore have rated this intervention against LC34 as Green.

I also attended the HLWP, HALES and Remediation routine quarterly review meetings where Sellafield Ltd gave an update on current and future operations in these facilities.

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

Conclusion of Intervention

From the evidence gathered during this intervention, I do not consider there to be any 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 within the Waste Treatment Complex and Engineered Drums Stores (EDS) at the Sellafield Nuclear Site as set out in the Integrated Intervention Strategy, which will continue as planned.