Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Chapelcross site inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This was a planned visit in pursuance of ONR’s plan of compliance inspection for Chapelcross.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The main activity at this visit was an inspection of the services on the site, such as electricity, water, and air, that are necessary in the interests of safety.  The objective of the inspection was to decide whether those services are supplied in a way that fulfils the claims made on them by the safety cases for the nuclear plants which they support.

Having assessed a sample of the licensee’s safety cases before the visit, I began by discussing them with the site’s safety case manager.  With the systems engineer we then discussed how electricity is supplied to the site, and the project for replacing much of the old system with updated equipment suited to the site’s new activities.  From a safety viewpoint, the chief reliance on electricity is now in the Chapelcross Processing Plant (which until 2005 extracted and purified tritium generated in Chapelcross’s reactors) and in the facilities from which emergencies and incidents are controlled.  These are each provided with diesel generators as back up; the emergency facilities are also connected to a battery supply, intended to take over instantaneously on loss of electricity from the grid.  I inspected examples of the instructions for the maintenance and testing of this equipment and a sample of the records of such tests.

Throughout the year I have inspected various features of the licensee’s compliance   with four of the conditions attached to its licence, namely those covering safety cases and operating rules, operating instructions, the prevention and detection of leaks of radioactive material, and decommissioning.  At this visit I inspected the top tiers of the licensee’s arrangements for compliance with these conditions, thus completing my inspection under those conditions for the year. 

In other meetings I discussed the licensee’s proposals for granting a new lease to Scottish Power to continue work on its part of the licensed site, and the forthcoming exercise to demonstrate the site’s emergency response capability.

In other discussions the results of actions previously placed were reviewed and closed where possible; new actions were also placed.

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

I agreed with the licensee’s opinion that services to plants at Chapelcross are not highly significant to safety.  In so far as safety depends on services I found that the equipment that supplies the services is adequate, is adequately maintained and tested, and is well assessed in safety cases.  There were minor instances of inadequate practices in maintenance which I have required the licensee to rectify.

Taken together with my other inspections this year my inspections on this occasion allowed me to make the judgement that the licensee’s compliance against the four licence conditions mentioned in Paragraph 4 remains adequate.  Further, I continue to regard Chapelcross’s safety cases, and arrangements for the control of modifications (now usually associated with decommissioning), as consistently good. 

Conclusion of Intervention

I found no issues that significantly affect nuclear safety, or that require me to take further regulatory action.