Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Intervention relating to radiography event at HMNB Clyde and REPPIR meeting

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

This was a reactive intervention in response to disclosure of a radiography event on board a submarine during the evening and morning of 25th and 26th June 2019. The intervention was as part of the preliminary enquiries phase of an investigation carried out in compliance with ONR-ENF-GD-005 Revision 3 – Conducting Investigations.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

This intervention was to ascertain the facts around a radiography event which occurred on board a submarine when berthed against Valiant Jetty at HMNB Clyde; a site Authorised on behalf of the Secretary of State by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator. As an Authorised site ONR has vires in relation to the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and those statutory instruments made under section 15 of the Act. This includes the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17). This intervention judged compliance against IRR17.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Following this intervention an Enforcement Decision Record (EDR) has been completed in line with ONR-ENF-GD-006 Revision 2. The result of this EDR is provision of “Regulatory Advice”. A strategy for the application of this regulatory advice will be developed by the nominated site inspector and the radiation protection specialist inspector.

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

The EDR provides the detail of the regulatory judgement. Although clear breaches of IRR17; particularly regulation 9(2) and 19(3) have occurred, the actions of the duty holder prior to and following the ‘Immediate Ships Investigation’ were deemed appropriate to close those breaches.

Conclusion of Intervention

I conclude that enough evidence exists to demonstrate a lack of control of access to a Controlled Area (Exclusion Area), implemented to prevent inadvertent exposure to ionising radiation from site radiography being carried out on the submarine on the evening and morning of 25th and 26th June 2019. This lack of control led to an exposure significantly above that expected for the Leading Engineering Technicians (LETs). but below 3/10ths of a dose limit. This is a failure to control exposures to As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP). This is a breach of IRR17 Regulations 9 and specifically 9(2) and Regulations 19(3) and therefore section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The actions taken following disclosure/reporting of this event are in my opinion adequate to ensure the safety of employees and others in the short term, and following implementation of recommendations from the ‘Immediate Ships Investigation’ and more detailed investigation to be carried out are adequate.

The application of the EMM to the EDR has indicated a baseline enforcement decision of Regulatory Advice, and with the application of Duty Holder Factors and Strategic Factors the recommendation remains provision of regulatory advice.