Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Harwell Site Inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This report outlines the findings from the planned intervention at Research Restoration Sites Ltd's Harwell licensed site, undertaken as part of a series of planned interventions outlined in the ONR Plan for the Regulation of the Harwell and Winfrith Sites 2014/2015

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

Interventions carried out focussed on compliance inspection for Incident Reporting and Training. The site undertook its annual level 1 demonstration emergency exercise, which was witnessed be a number of ONR inspectors. A joint inspection was undertaken with the Environment Agency of compliance on relevant regulatory expectations for radioactive waste management. This focussed on accumulation of waste and leakage/escape of radioactive material/radioactive waste.

A routine liaison meeting with RSRL safety representatives was held to support their function of representing employees and receiving information on matters affecting their health, safety and welfare at work.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

No safety system based inspections were undertaken during this intervention.

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

RSRL's response to regulatory requests for review and improvements to training arrangements are satisfactory. RSRL agrees that there are recognised benefits from the improvement activities being undertaken. Continued delivery of the improvement programme is expected to provide a good level of compliance.

RSRL provided an update on progress with the improvement programme that has been delivering revised arrangements for incident reporting and investigation. The committed programme of work is now complete and additional changes are now considered part of normal business of maintaining and effective process and continuous improvement. It is evident that the improvements that RSRL has progressively been implementing during the past 18 months are now embedding. RSRL is judged to have established and implemented arrangements to a good standard.

RSRL held its Level 1 annual demonstration emergency exercise. The agreed scenario for the exercise was considered more challenging than previously developed by RSRL, and evidence of RSRL's ongoing improvement to its emergency arrangements was clearly demonstrated. ONR fire safety specialist inspector and an ONR Magnox Ltd site inspector supported the ONR assessment of the exercise. While overall the exercise demonstrated a good response, compliance with regulatory expectations is judged to be adequate due to regulatory observations from previous exercises not yet embedding within RSRL's emergency response.

Inspection of waste management found that arrangements and implementation for accumulation of waste were adequate, although some minor areas for improvement were identified for management of Very Low Level Waste. RSRL has been requested to commit to ensuring all waste is stored and managed consistent to its revised arrangements for this aspect by 30 September 2014. Waste management and accumulation of waste within the LETP facility is significantly improved and has established a suitable benchmark for other areas of the site to be adopting. Discussion on passivation of ILW waste concluded that RSRL's current strategy to commence encapsulation by 2018 remains reasonable subject to clear understanding of the risk reduction that would result from passivation. RSRL will review this position and confirm details to ONR in due course.

Conclusion of Intervention

From the evidence gathered during this intervention, I do not believe there are any matters that may immediately affect nuclear safety.