Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Fuel Handling Plant compliance inspection of Licence Conditions LC27 and LC28

Executive summary

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.  This planned intervention was undertaken as part of the ONR 2019/20 Intervention Plan, on the Spent Fuel Management value stream, and more specifically the Fuel Handling Plant (FHP).

FHP resides within the Magnox East River (MER) facilities, and its safe operation is important to nuclear safety of the workforce and public, the delivery of the Magnox Operating Plan (MOP) and support to continuing hazard remediation activities at the Sellafield site.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I led a Licence Condition (LC) compliance inspection of LC 27 (safety mechanisms, devices and circuits) and LC 28 (examination, inspection, maintenance and testing). This inspection focussed on SL’s implementation of its arrangements in FHP to ensure that all operations are undertaken with suitable and sufficient safety mechanisms, devices and circuits in good working order, and that these are maintained in accordance with the expectations of LC 28.

The inspection was conducted to enable ONR to make a judgement as to the adequacy of the implementation of the licensee’s arrangements for compliance with LC 27 and LC 28. 

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable.

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

No matters were identified as requiring immediate regulatory attention whilst conducting the compliance inspection of both LC 27 and LC 28.

We examined evidence of the licensee’s compliance with its arrangements for LC 27 and, on the basis of the inspection team’s sample, I consider that the licensee is broadly compliant with its duties under LC 27. However, there is evidence that potential safety mechanism failures revealed by calibration drift during maintenance might not be consistently reported and learning captured across the facility..  This has been raised as a Level 4 Regulatory Issue to be managed as part of normal regulatory business.

I identified a minor shortfall associated with the management of fire boundaries and heating associated with management of a switch room.  This has been raised as a Level 4 Regulatory Issue to be managed as part of normal regulatory business.

We examined evidence of the licensee’s compliance with its arrangements for LC 28 and, on the basis of the sampled evidence, I consider that the licensee is largely compliant with its duties under LC 28.  

Conclusion of Intervention

The LC 27 compliance inspection concluded that the licensee had not adequately implemented its arrangements for LC 27. I consider that an inspection rating of Green (no formal action is required) is merited here, and have raised two Level 4 regulatory issues to track as part of normal regulatory business.

The LC 28 compliance inspection concluded that the licensee had adequately implemented its arrangements for LC 28. I therefore consider, noting the ONR guidance on inspection ratings, that an inspection rating of Green (no formal action required) is merited here.