Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Sellafield - Inspection of changes to work delivery arrangements pilot study at HLWP

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

In April 2017, Sellafield Limited (SL) published a Transformation Plan which set out the direction for its future and defined the organisation it wants to be in ten years’ time.  As part of its Transformation Plan, SL proposes to change its site-wide work delivery arrangements.  SL has agreed not to start the site-wide implementation of its changed work delivery arrangements without ONR’s permission.

To inform its future decision as to whether or not to permission the start of the site‑wide implementation of its changed work delivery arrangements, ONR has put in place an intervention project consisting of a number of assessment and inspection activities.  This inspection forms part of this intervention project.

Prior to the start of site-wide implementation, SL is piloting the changed work delivery arrangements at two facilities on the Sellafield site, one of these facilities is the High Level Waste Plants (HLWP).  This inspection, a reactive unplanned conduct of operations themed inspection, was carried out on the changed work delivery arrangements being piloted at HLWP to determine both the adequacy of these arrangements and their implementation.  An inspection equivalent to this one has already been completed at the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS), the second facility on the Sellafield site selected to pilot the changed work delivery arrangements.

Several Licence Conditions (LCs) and other health and safety legislation, such as the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA), define obligations which must be met by the changed work delivery arrangements being piloted at PFCS.  Because of this wide scope, an inspection of a single LC during a Licence Condition Compliance Inspection would not have been appropriate.  Instead, this inspection formed part of a “Conduct of Operations” Themed Inspection, as discussed in ONR Compliance Inspection Guide “Guidance for Intervention Planning and Reporting”.

During the planning phase of this inspection ONR judged that, in terms of LCs, compliance with LC 26 “Control and supervision of operations” may be particularly impacted by the changed work delivery arrangements, although ONR also judged that other LCs such as LC 10 “Training” and LC 12 “Duly authorised and other suitably qualified and experienced persons” might also be impacted.  For this reason, and also taking into account the amount of time available for this inspection, ONR decided during the inspection planning phase that matters observed during this inspection relevant to compliance with:

In relation to LC 26, the following guidance was utilised during the inspection:

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I, a Sellafield, Decommissioning, Fuel & Waste (SDFW) Division Inspector, carried out this reactive unplanned themed inspection of the changed work delivery arrangements being piloted at HLWP.  I was supported by a Human Factors Specialist Inspector throughout the inspection.  Two members of SL’s internal regulator also participated in this inspection.

The inspection comprised:  observation of a start of shift meeting and discussions with a range of personnel with roles and responsibilities under the new arrangements.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable as this was not a system based inspection.

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

In line with the purpose of this inspection, key findings made on the basis of the evidence sampled and collected are provided relating to:

In line with the purpose of this inspection, key findings made on the basis of the evidence sampled and collected are provided relating to:

LC 26 requires that SL ensures that no operations are carried out which may affect safety except under the control and supervision of suitably qualified and experienced persons.  I am of the opinion that this requirement has not been met in relation to the pilot study.  This is because SL was working to demonstrate during the pilot, by development of training material and assessment of persons, that those assigned control and supervision responsibilities under the pilot study arrangements were suitably qualified and experienced.  I am of the opinion that such demonstrations should have been in place before the pilot started.

Considering other LCs I am of the opinion that, in relation to the pilot study, there are also non-compliances with:

I consider that the non-compliances with LC 10 and LC 12 are in addition to those I took into account during the rating of LC 26.  This is because SL was working to demonstrate during the pilot, by development of training material and assessment of persons, that some roles under the pilot study arrangements (e.g. person planning work) which are not assigned control and supervision responsibilities were suitably qualified and experienced.

This list is not exhaustive and I am of the opinion that, in relation to the pilot study, with further inspection there may be other aspects of non-compliance with other LCs.

Considering other health and safety legislation I am of the opinion that, in relation to the pilot study, there are non-compliances with:

Underpinning these shortfalls, I am also of the opinion that some relevant statutory provisions of HSWA have not been complied with for the commencement of - and the ongoing administration of - this pilot.  In particular The Management of Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Regulations 3, 5 and 13.

This list is not exhaustive and I am of the opinion that with further inspection there may be other aspects of non-compliance with other relevant statutory provisions of HSWA, such as the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

SL’s internal regulator recognised the shortfalls identified during this inspection.

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

Conclusion of Intervention

Based on the above, I concluded that the pilot study had started too early, when the pilot study arrangements were not mature enough to demonstrate that work under the pilot study arrangements would be undertaken safely and compliantly with SL’s obligations under its nuclear site licence and other health and safety legislation.

Because of this conclusion, I had requested at the equivalent PFCS inspection that SL should either pause the PFCS pilot study or justify why it considered that the pilot study should continue.  This request applies to the HLWP pilot study too.

At HLWP I concluded that the Task Supervisor role and the Person Planning Work role, two significant roles defined in the pilot study work delivery arrangements, were not being tested in the pilot.  This limits the effectiveness of the pilot being undertaken an HLWP. 

In relation to LC 26, noting the relevant key findings highlighted earlier and the ONR Inspection Rating Guide, I consider that an inspect rating of Amber (seek improvement) is merited.

In line with the expected ONR response to an inspection rating of Amber I have raised a Level 3 Regulatory Issue to log and track progress with the enforcement communication that will be issued arising from this inspection.  This Regulatory Issue will deal with all the shortfalls identified during this inspection, that is:  those relating to LC 26;  those relating to other LCs;  and, those relating to other health and safety legislation.