Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Readiness inspection for Sellafield Ltd to commence the operation of the FL4 Repack Glovebox Facility

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

On the 17 July 2019 the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertook an intervention on the Sellafield site to inspect Sellafield Ltd’s (SL) readiness to commence the operation of the Finishing Line 4 (FL4) Repack Glovebox Facility for the over-packing of Type 1 Packages within SNM North.

Within SL’s SMN inventory there is a population of multi-layered packages currently stored within a bespoke SNM store.  The store is located in a facility within the SNM-North (SNM(N)) complex.

Operation of the store and the new Finishing Line 4 (FL4) repack glovebox facility within SNM(N) is key to SL being able to meet its objective of risk reduction and continued safe storage of the nuclear material until a new treatment facility becomes available to prepare the material for safe longer term storage. The purpose of the intervention was to inspect SL’s implementation of its safety case under its Licence Condition (LC) 22 arrangements for this project and gain assurance that, SL is in a state of readiness to safely commence the proposed modification. The findings of the intervention will be used to inform the regulatory decision on SL’s request for ONR’s agreement to commence the proposed modification - FL4 Repack Glovebox Facility for the over-packing of Type 1 Packages within SNM North.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The scope of this intervention was to inspect FL4 Repack Glovebox Facility from a people, plant and processes perspective and assess the licensee’s readiness to safely commence active commissioning and operation of FL4. The scope of ONR’s intervention was outlined and agreed prior to the inspection.

The readiness inspection was undertaken against LC 22 ‘Modification or experiment on existing plant’, which requires the licensee to make and implement adequate arrangements to control any modification or experiment carried out on any part of the existing plant or processes which may affect safety.

The inspection comprised desktop-based discussions and facility inspection. It was undertaken against LC 22 in accordance with ONR guidance Technical Inspection Guide (TIG) NS-INSP-GD-022, LC22: Modification or experiment on existing plant, Revision 4, January 2018.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

N/A – This was not a safety system inspection.

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

Based on the evidence sampled during this intervention, I judge that SL’s implementation of its safety case under its LC 22 arrangements as Green (no formal action). With respect to ONR’s TIG NS-INSP-GD-022, SL adequately demonstrated:

No shortfalls were identified during the inspection that would prevent permission being granted for the proposed modification.

In relation to SL’s overall state of readiness to commence the proposed modification; ONR observed that SL needs to close out a number of findings identified in its Hazardous Area Readiness Review (HARR) conducted by the SL Nuclear Independent Oversight (NIO) prior to commencing Active Commissioning and Operations of FL4. Based on this intervention, ONR is satisfied that SL is in control of the closure of these findings, and there is a robust hazardous activity readiness review process in place to confirm completion prior to active commissioning and operations. These include, completion of the safety case readiness review by the Safety Case team, correction of inconsistencies / misalignments of the Clearance Certificate, completion of the security door/camera commissioning test documentation, completion of operator training and submission of NIO’s observation record.

Conclusion of Intervention

Based on our findings from the available evidence, we judge that SL’s implementation of its safety case under its LC22 arrangements, and related to the Plant Modification Proposal process, is adequate in this instance. From the evidence sampled, no shortfalls were identified that would prevent permission being granted for SL to commence the proposed modification.

In relation to SL’s state of readiness, this inspection identified some areas that remain to be completed. ONR is satisfied that none of these are safety significant and that SL has plans in place to complete prior to active commissioning and operation of FL4. This intervention provided ONR confidence that SL is in control of the completion of these planned activities and there is a mature HARR process in place to confirm completion of identified findings prior to active commissioning and actual FL4 operations being authorised by the duty holder.  I judge that an inspection rating of GREEN is merited.