Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Sellafield High-Active Waste Facility System Based Inspection of HALES Pipebridges

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interaction with Sellafield Limited (SL, the site licensee) against a strategy defined by the ONR Sellafield Programme. The inspection plan for High Level Waste facilities sets out a programme of regulatory inspections which includes a system based inspection (SBI) of the Highly Active Liquor Evaporation and Storage (HALES) pipebridge system.

The purpose of this inspection was for ONR to consider the adequacy of implementation of the licensee's safety case claims in respect of this system.

HALES provides facilities for the volume reduction and interim storage of highly radioactive liquor arising from reprocessing of Magnox and Oxide fuel. The pipebridges form part of the infrastructure for the transfer of fluids including high active (HA), medium active (MA), low active (LA) liquors, ventilation systems, steam and water.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I carried out a two day on-site SBI of the HALES pipebridge system with the ONR Sellafield nominated site safety inspector. My inspection comprised discussions with SL staff, a plant inspection and reviews of plant records and other documentation. The inspection was conducted in conjunction with staff from the licensee's Internal Regulator.

As part of my inspection I examined evidence for the adequate implementation of five licence conditions. These licence conditions (LC), which are listed below, have been selected in view of their importance to nuclear safety and are defined within ONR's process for SBI.

I used relevant ONR guidance in assessing the licensee's compliance with the above-stated Licence Conditions.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

I judged this safety system to be adequate.

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

From the evidence examined by me during this inspection, I consider that the licensee has adequately implemented those claims within the facility safety case that relate to the HALES pipebridges.

I made a number of minor observations during my inspection. These were shared with, and accepted by, the licensee during my inspection feedback. None of these adversely affect safety. I raised one Regulatory Issue for the licensee to provide further assurance on the condition of components that fulfil a nuclear safety function. Overall, I did not identify any significant shortfalls in the delivery of safety functions or compliance with Licence Condition arrangements and it is my opinion that inspection ratings of Green (no formal action) are merited for LC 10, 23, 24, 27, 28 and 34.

In the course of my inspection I did not identify any significant concerns with the adequacy of the licensee's safety case for this system that would necessitate further assessment by ONR.

Conclusion of Intervention

From the samples inspected, I judge that the licensee has adequately implemented the relevant claims within its safety case. I was satisfied that the arrangements for all the Licence Conditions against which I inspected are being implemented adequately. I made a number of minor observations during my inspection, which were accepted by the licensee. I have raised one Regulatory Issue, which I will manage in accordance with ONR guidance.