Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Annual evaluation of emergency management capability (Exercise OSCAR 12) at Sellafield

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interactions with Sellafield Limited (SL), the site licensee, against a strategy defined by the ONR Sellafield, Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste (SDFW) Division. The planned inspection schedule for the current regulatory year (covering April 2017 - March 2018), the content of which is guided by that strategy, identifies the Licence Conditions (LCs) that will be inspected over this period.

This intervention was conducted to determine, through an emergency demonstration exercise, if the site is implementing adequately its site-wide arrangements for compliance with Licence Condition 11 (Emergency arrangements). This intervention fulfils the requirement set by ONR for SL to demonstrate the site's emergency management capability on an annual basis, based on a safety-driven scenario.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

Licence Condition 11 (LC11) requires the licensee to make and implement adequate arrangements to deal with any accident or emergency arising on the site and to ensure that such arrangements are rehearsed periodically.

ONR's inspection, which comprised an assessment of a site-wide emergency demonstration exercise (Exercise OSCAR 12) that was planned and managed by the licensee, was completed in accordance with the following ONR guidance:

With ONR's acceptance, SL conducted this Level "1" on-site exercise demonstration concurrent with the Cumbria County Council Level "2" off-site exercise, and SL's Level "1" scenario informed aspects of the level "2" exercise.

The exercise was assessed by a multi-discipline team of nine ONR inspectors located at key positions around the site. This team included three ONR security inspectors who assessed security related aspects of the scenario.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable; this was not a Safety System inspection.

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

This was a challenging exercise, placing a number of different demands and challenges on both the on and off-site emergency services and the emergency duty team to command and control a response to the simulated event.

Overall, my assessment team and I consider that the licensee would have coped had this been a real event. The licensee demonstrated some areas of good practice, for example: its declarations were timely and made on a conservative basis. In addition, the command and control performance was good within its Sellafield Emergency Control Centre. However, a number of areas for improvement were also identified, for example: the licensee experienced difficulties with the timely completion of its roll call and muster for one facility. In addition, its effectiveness of casualty recovery, handling and triage treatment was an area for improvement.

ONR welcomed the licensee's alignment of its self-assessment findings to ONR's findings, through the licensee being open, and self-critical.

Conclusion of Intervention

ONR's finding were shared with and accepted by the licensee as part of normal inspection feedback.

I plan to issue a letter asking the licensee to conduct a review of the adequacy of its LC 11 Emergency arrangements in relation to the findings identified as part of conducting this inspection and to respond detailing its findings and proposed action.

Overall, based on this demonstration, I consider the licensee has implemented effectively its arrangements for compliance with LC11 and I therefore awarded a rating of Green (No formal action) to this inspection.