Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Planned intervention - Hunterston B

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

The purpose of this intervention was to undertake Licence Condition [LC] compliance inspections at the EDF Nuclear Generation Limited (NGL) Hunterston B (HNB) power station in line with the planned inspection programme contained in the HNB Integrated Intervention Strategy (IIS).

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

As part of this intervention, I undertook a compliance inspection against Licence Condition 32 - Accumulation of radioactive waste. I undertook this inspection jointly with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency [SEPA] site inspector to ensure efficient use of respective resource on a topic of mutual regulatory interest. The overall intent of the inspection was to secure assurance that station has adequately addressed or demonstrably progressed shortfalls in compliance against LC32, identified during a 2013 specialist-led inspection.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

No safety case informed system based inspection was undertaken during this intervention.

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

During this joint ONR-SEPA inspection I made the following observations and judgements:

Overall there has been substantial and encouraging progress made to minimise accumulation of waste at Hunterston B, and to manage legacy holdings. There are certain factors such as unavailability of LLWR that are outside EDF's direct control. I advised station to consider opportunities to be more strategic in its through-life management plan for difficult waste streams; the approach to end of operating life, currently anticipated for 2023, may be a valid factor to consider in future for packages such as short-lived ILW where there is no obvious disposal route available.

In the interim, it is essential that an adequate safety case is developed to justify continued on site storage of such items pending the availability of a suitable disposal route.

I recommend the closure of the ONR regulatory issue in light of the findings from this inspection.

The intervention was performed in line with ONR's guidance requirements (as described in our technical inspection guides) in the areas inspected.

Conclusion of Intervention

I judged the licensee to have demonstrably improved compliance with its arrangements under Licence Condition 32, with significant progress towards improving its performance against NGL's Radioactive Waste Focus Index. An IIS rating of '3 - Adequate' is awarded to reflect the good progress made towards reducing low level waste inventories; a higher rating was not justified because progress on orphan waste streams [i.e. those without a defined disposal route] is still at an early stage.