As Berkeley prepares to retrieve intermediate level waste (ILW) from its vaults for characterisation, treatment and packaging for long-term storage it is designing, building, testing and installing the plant and equipment to undertake the work safely. This inspection was part of the ONR IIS plan for 2014/15 to provide confidence that the suppliers are providing equipment of the requisite quality and taking due account of radiological conditions that will be encountered on site during operations.
An inspection was carried out at the Cavendish factory at Whetstone, Leicestershire where the fuel element debris (FED) processing and packaging modules associated with the removal of waste from the Berkeley vaults were being fitted together. We discussed the purpose of the modules and we were shown the equipment being tested prior to shipping to Berkeley.
This was not part of a safety system inspection.
Prior to the visit we advised Magnox Ltd at Berkeley on the parts of the design we wished to focus on to structure the discussions. We found that most of the equipment had been proven successfully in similar circumstances over a number of years and should be easy to maintain. Cavendish had tried to ensure that the operating system was simple to use. We noted that the equipment was designed with shipping and site installation and operation in mind. We were assured that Cavendish would be available to set the equipment to work and train Berkeley staff. Berkeley health physics staff had been involved in the design and consideration of access requirements and decontamination of the equipment. In addition, Cavendish and site staff had considered operational issues in the design and setting to work phases, and the need for on-going maintenance of the equipment. Shielding to reduce radiation doses to staff near to the vaults had been designed and made and will be fitted when the equipment is installed on site. The design included consideration of decontamination of the plant should this become necessary during commissioning and operation. Both Magnox Ltd and Cavendish recognised that some additional measures could be employed if contamination levels in practice are higher than anticipated.
The testing of the equipment that we observed and which formed part of the inactive commissioning at the manufacture’s works was found to be adequate.