Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Inspection of fire safety during a planned outage period

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

I conducted an inspection of fire safety during a planned outage period at Hinkley B Power Station that focused on the themes of fire safety management and practical fire safety provision.

The purpose of this intervention was to ensure that the Licensee was showing compliance with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

My inspection concentrated on the practical application of the general fire precautions during an outage period. I completed a tour of the selected facilities before concluding with a final meeting with the Technical Safety Support Manager (TSSM). I have reported on my findings within the body of this report in section 2 below.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The intervention focused on both the management of fire safety and the practical fire safety provision within areas and facilities undergoing outage activities. I informed the licensee that this inspection would focus on the conditions within the outage work plan areas.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

NOT APPLICABLE THIS WAS NOT A SYSTEM BASED INSPECTION

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

My overall impression was one of a practical approach being taken to the management and application of fire safety during this outage period. I noted that all of those that I had contact with, demonstrated a suitable focus, support and attention to fire safety. The dynamic nature of an outage requires a focused approach to the management of fire safety. I am satisfied that the Fire Safety Coordinator (FSC) has developed a robust approach to the management of fire safety during these periods.

It was evident during the inspection that significant engineering activity is taking place particularly in the Turbine Hall and RCA resulting in the numbers of personnel on the site increasing well beyond that normally experienced under normal generating conditions.

In particular the increase in the numbers of contractors and transient workers is an issue which requires considerable practical and managerial control in order to ensure that expected station standards are maintained.

The outage activity has the potential to impact considerably on the life fire safety provision within the RCA, Turbine Hall and associated buildings; not least of all due to the considerable increase in fire loading, changes in layout of the buildings particularly due to the amount of scaffolding in place, and due to the increased amount of hot work and confined space activity taking place. Along with the considerable increase in numbers of personnel on site, these activities significantly increase the level of control that is required to manage the potential risk from fire.

During both the walk down and the meetings held during the two days I identified a number of examples of industry good practice. I did identify one aspect of fire safety which required immediate attention to rectify it. A small number of areas for minor improvements and recommendations aiming to further enhance the already high standards of fire safety will be followed up with the licensee’s Fire Safety Coordinator (FSC).

Notwithstanding the single issue requiring immediate attention, it is my opinion that my inspection has provided me with the confidence that the fire safety arrangements are effective and being implemented to a satisfactory standard. The inspection demonstrated that the overarching impression was one of a good direction of travel and a high level of importance being placed on the provision of the required standards for conventional fire safety arrangements during this outage period.

Conclusion of Intervention

I concluded with an assessment of compliance with the legislation, and presented deficiencies and recognised areas of good practice at a wash-up meeting.

Overall my findings in relation to the areas I inspected, demonstrate an adequate level of fire safety provision and management.

The inspection outcome was rated as GREEN with no significant issues raised.