Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Joint compliance inspection with the Environment Agency covering licence conditions 24, 32, 33, 34 and 35

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This report describes an ONR intervention conducted at Magnox Ltd’s Hinkley Point A nuclear licensed site, undertaken as part of a series of routine interventions set out in the Integrated Intervention Strategy document.

On this occasion, the Environment Agency participated in a joint inspection where there is common regulatory interest in aspects of the licensee’s arrangements for the management of radioactive wastes.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The following interventions were conducted:

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

N/A

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

I judged that arrangements necessary to comply with licence conditions 24, 32, 33 and 34 are adequate.

Arrangements examined were mature and adequately implemented.  The licensee was effective in safely managing radioactive wastes currently being generated by the decommissioning projects.  However, I informed the licensee that there are small accumulations of legacy drummed, low level wastes that would benefit from additional characterisation to facilitate final disposal.

Projects associated with pond decommissioning and the relocation of intermediate level wastes from settling tanks 1 – 3 were making good progress with indications that significant risk reductions will be made during 2015.  I judged that decommissioning compliance arrangements as required by licence condition 35 are adequate.

Following the level 1 emergency exercise, coded ‘Whirlwind’, I judged that the site’s rehearsal of its arrangements made under licence condition11 are adequate.  However there were a number of opportunities for improvement identified, particularly with contamination control arrangements in the vicinity of the postulated spillage incident.  Although I have no concerns that individuals would not be adequately monitored and decontaminated prior to leaving the access control point, there were some poor practices demonstrated that would have resulted in unnecessary radiological dose accrual and spread of contamination at the incident location. 

Conclusion of Intervention

This was a useful joint inspection conducted with the Environment Agency to inspect the licensee’s compliance arrangements for the management of radioactive wastes.  No actions were placed on the licensee however it was noted that a small volume of drummed low level waste would benefit from further characterisation and disposal, as appropriate.

Although I judged exercise ‘Whirlwind’ to be an adequate demonstration of sites emergency arrangements, there were areas where further improvements were identified.  The licensee, has volunteered to carry out a further demonstration exercise to provide assurance that the contamination control lessons gained from exercise ‘Whirlwind’ have been embedded. The date for this re-demonstration exercise has yet to be confirmed but is likely to be in the first quarter of 2015.