Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Familiarisation visit for the Programme Director to Enrichment and Uranic Storage Facilities

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

Familiarisation visit for the ONR Deputy Chief Inspector / Director of the Decommissioning, Fuel & Waste Programme, to two enrichment facilities, together with the uranic storage facilities, (including the scene of the minor fire of 15 January 2015).   

Intervention Carried Out by ONR

The intervention was arranged as a familiarisation visit for the ONR Deputy Chief Inspector / Director of the Decommissioning Fuel and Waste Programme, accompanied by a Superintending Inspector and the nominated site inspector.  Two enrichment facilities were visited, including the scene of the minor fire on 15 January.  Uranic storage facilities were also visited, on part of the licensed site leased to the Capenhurst Nuclear Services Limited tenant organisation

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable.

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

The people met during this visit were open with their knowledge, clearly competent, and they demonstrated an eagerness to deliver safely.  The commitment of the Managing Director and others to nuclear safety was clearly demonstrated.

The visit was useful, both in terms of familiarisation with the enrichment facilities and also in terms of the scope of the uranic storage facilities, in particular the challenge of the ageing legacy Hex Tails 0236 type cylinders and their emerging containment issues.  This visit served to reinforce the importance of the extant licensee/NDA commitment to ONR, relating to timely hazard reduction and starting the deconversion of these legacy Hex Tails by 2020. This similarly served to emphasise the importance of timely construction and operation of the precursor Legacy Cylinder Facility, to filter and decant the legacy Hex Tails into modern transport packages, to enable the timely deconversion of the uranium hexafluoride at the Tails Management Facility.      

Regarding the licensee’s response to the fire at an enrichment facility on 15 January 2015, I was content that the licensee had commissioned appropriate expert advice to support the licensee’s investigation into the fire, in compliance with the licence condition 7 arrangements.

Conclusion of Intervention

The visit familiarised the Programme Director with the enrichment and uranic storage facilities at Capenhurst.

The licensee demonstrated an appropriate response to the enrichment facility minor fire of 15 January, having duly commissioned appropriate expert independent fire investigation expertise from a specialist contractor, to support the licensee’s timely investigation of this event.