Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Conventional Health and Safety Inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

This Conventional Health and Safety (CH&S) Inspection, conducted at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston licensed site, was undertaken as part of the ONR AWE 2019/20 intervention plan and weapons sub-division strategy.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

During the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s (ONR) January 2020 site inspection week, we conducted a planned Conventional Health and Safety Inspection of the AWE A** facility.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

This was not a Systems-Based or a Licence Condition inspection.

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

The key findings from the inspection were:

The main hazard in this facility is exposure to finely divided material. This hazard was seen to be well controlled, with sufficiently robust procedures and processes in place to ensure that risks to the operators are reduced ALARP. A number of additional engineered safety measures will be implemented on the Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) system to augment existing operator-based safety actions by including interlocks to further reduce the possibility of inadvertent exposure of machine operators to finely divided material.

There were no significant findings identified during this inspection and no immediate safety concerns were identified that require the facility to take immediate action to reduce risks. A number of regulatory observations were raised which require regulatory follow-up, and will be captured in a Level 4 regulatory Issue.

Conclusion of Intervention

From the evidence sampled during this inspection, we judge that the licensee’s formal arrangements for compliance with CH&S regulations are adequate. A number of observations were noted during the inspection which were relayed to the facility and will be followed up as part of normal regulatory business. A Level 4 Regulatory Issue (RI) will be raised as a result of this inspection to ensure that AWE address these observations, and the issue will be progressed to closure by the PTC Facilities inspector and the ONR CH&S inspector as part of normal regulatory business during future site visits.