Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Reactor unit 3 statutory outage 2019 - Radiological Protection (Vessel Entry) inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

This report relates to the planned ONR Radiation Protection inspection in relation to the 2019 statutory outage of Reactor 3 (R3) at EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Limited (NGL) Hinkley Point B. It included an inspection of the radiological protection (RP) arrangements that the licensee had in place for the outage with a specific focus on vessel entry work.  Elements of this inspection were carried out jointly with NGL Radiation Protection staff from NGL corporate centre and NGL’s Independent Nuclear Assurance function.  

The aim of the radiological protection intervention was:

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The RP inspection was led by me, accompanied by an ONR Graduate as part of a joint-inspection (as stated above). This inspection sampled the following through discussions, document review and plant visits:

The intervention was performed in line with ONR's guidance requirements (as described in our technical inspection guides) in the areas inspected.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable – no system based inspection was undertaken.

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

The RP inspection did not reveal any significant nuclear safety concerns relevant to the R3 outage that require action by the Licensee or further follow-up by ONR.

Discussions with the Head of Radiological Protection (HoRP) at the Station gave me suitable assurance that there are effective radiological protection practices in place; a good level of compliance with the IRR17 was evident during plant inspections.

During review of work performance I noted the number of RP Technical Controllers available during this outage and the move to “rolling-entries” (continuous working where one entry immediately follows another) resulted in challenging work patterns for those individuals.  Although no safety incidents have been associated with this at the time of the inspection, Technical Controller fatigue has the potential to impact on the individuals themselves and the vessel entry personnel.  This issue should be addressed before any further vessel entry campaigns across the fleet are carried out and I will monitor this through routine Level 4 interactions.

An inspection rating of Green was therefore assigned against IRR17.

Conclusion of Intervention

The RP inspection identified no matters that should prevent ONR granting a Consent under licence condition 30 allowing the Licensee to return R3 to power in due course.