Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Magnox Encapsulation Plant (MEP) LC11 compliance inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interaction with the Sellafield site licensee (Sellafield Limited, SL) against a strategy defined by the ONR Sellafield Sub Division. In accordance with that strategy, a Licence Condition 11 (LC) compliance inspections was carried out on the Spent Fuel Management value stream Magnox Encapsulation Plant (MEP), as planned, on 11th June 2019. 

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The purpose of this inspection was for the ONR to determine the adequacy of implementation of the licensee’s formal arrangements for compliance with LC11 (emergency arrangements).  The inspection comprised of discussions with SL staff, a review of emergency response records and a visit to the Incident Control Centre (ICC) and Access Control Point (ACP).

On the 11th June 2019, I also conducted a preliminary enquiry into a recent event which occurred on the Magnox Encapsulation Plant and was subsequently reported to ONR where a small quantity of process liquor was accidently transferred between storage vessels during a proof test. 

On the 12th June 2019, I undertook a familiarisation visit to the Low Active Effluent Management Group (LAEMG) plants.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

This was not a system based inspection, and therefore no judgement has been made of the adequacy of implementation of any part of the safety case.

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

I undertook a review of the MEP Emergency Operating Instructions (EOI) in use, how and when the Incident Control Centre is set up and the personnel involved. From the evidence sampled I was satisfied that the documented Emergency Arrangements in place for the response to an emergency were adequate.

I sampled the training records for an Incident Controller (IC) and an Incident Supervisor (IS) and found them to have completed their required training and their SQEP status to be in date.

I sampled the exercise strategy and programme and was satisfied that these were adequate. I selected two of the emergency drills and exercise reports and noted that these had been completed to an adequate standard with the LFE actions tracked and closed out.

I reviewed the systems in place for checking and maintaining the emergency equipment at the MEP plant and I was satisfied that SL carried these out on a frequent basis.

I visited the Incident Control Centre (ICC) and Access Control Point (ACP) for MEP and found these to be in a fully functioning condition.

Overall I judge that, on the basis of evidence sampled at the time of this inspection, the licensee has adequately implemented its arrangements for compliance with Licence Condition 11 (Emergency Arrangements).  I therefore consider that the required standard was met and an inspection rating of Green is merited (no formal action).

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

As a result of my preliminary enquiry on the event reported to ONR, I am satisfied that SL are taking the appropriate actions to address the event and confirmed that it does not meet the ONR formal investigation criteria.

On the 12th June 2019 I had a prearranged familiarisation walk down of the LAEMG facilities. No significant matters were noted during the walk down of the various facilities with LAEMG.

Conclusion of Intervention

From the evidence gathered during this intervention, I do not consider there to be any matters that have the potential to impact significantly on nuclear safety.    

At present, no additional regulatory action is needed over and above the planned interventions within the Spent Fuel Management Value Stream at the Sellafield Nuclear Site as set out in the Integrated Intervention Strategy.