Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Independent Nuclear Assurance Surveillance - Safety Culture

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The purpose of this intervention was twofold:

The intervention was planned in accordance with ONR’s Integrated Intervention Strategy (IIS) for Torness of 2019/20.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

As nominated Site Inspector I joined a team of three INA members, including a specialist in human and organisational factors who led this pilot safety culture surveillance.  This surveillance, based on approaches used by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), comprised interviews, focus groups and evaluation of meetings and selected documents.

My evaluation of the surveillance was informed by ONR guidance on LC17 (NS-INSP-GD-017 and ND-TAST-GD-080) available on our website, IAEA guidance available on its website, and operational experience from carrying out similar interventions as a qualified ONR specialist in human and organisational factors.

A number of routine Site Inspector interactions are also recorded in the report.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable – no system based inspections were performed during this intervention.

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

The surveillance found that safety culture was strong at Torness Power Station, and identified opportunities for further improvement that the Station undertook to act upon.

It is accepted good practice for nuclear licensees to assess safety leadership and safety culture (e.g. see IAEA General Safety Requirements Part II). In my view the qualitative approach to safety culture assessment that was piloted at Torness should prove to be a useful way to add rich data to that gained by traditional safety culture surveys and so give insights on areas for improvement. Its validity was enhanced by the extensive sample of over 100 staff (around 15% of the workforce). It was a pilot and there were learning points for refinement of the approach, but I conclude that it was an effective addition to EDF NGL’s assurance arrangements under LC17.

Conclusion of Intervention

Feedback to the Station on the safety culture findings were presented by INA and the opportunities for improvement accepted. I gave feedback on the approach to safety culture assurance directly to INA and rated it ’Green – no formal action’ under LC17.

There were no findings from this inspection that significantly undermine nuclear safety or which would result in changes to the planned interventions and inspections of Torness Power Station.