Office for Nuclear Regulation

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LC11 Compliance Inspection THORP

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

In accordance with the Office for Nuclear Regulation's (ONR's) Sellafield Strategy, ONR performs a series of core licence compliance inspections each year with all other licence conditions being assessed at a site over a 5 year period. This core inspection was performed to assess Sellafield Ltd's (SL's) compliance with Licence Condition 11 - Emergency Arrangements within the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP).

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

ONR carried out a one and a half day inspection comprising of a review of the current emergency arrangements in THORP and an observation of an Access Control Point (ACP) Drill. In addition, I held several information sharing sessions to discuss the progress being made on other on-going regulatory issues, including the follow up to the 'formalin event' and the recent PP cycle trip event. These will be followed up as part of regular regulatory engagements.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

N/A as this was not a safety systems inspection.

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

The capability and competency of the Spent Fuel Management (SFM) Emergency Management organisation, under which THORP falls, has increased since last inspected. However, it is currently significantly below its nominal complement, which is limiting the speed and scope of the implementation of Emergency Management improvements within SFM and hence THORP.

Although Sellafield Ltd have made some improvements to their emergency arrangements in THORP, several areas exist, such as lack of a full suite of role/training profiles for all emergency roles and associated training records, where significant further improvement is required. I was encouraged that Sellafield had self-identified many of these areas and has put in place several site-wide improvement plans which I was informed would address these issues. I have concerns regarding how these improvements will be realised within the facility, and I have asked SL to demonstrate to ONR with suitable clarity that these site wide initiatives will effectively address the identified areas for improvement within THORP

Conclusion of Intervention

It is my opinion that, based on the findings from this inspection, that compliance against LC11 - Emergency Arrangements, warrants a rating of 4 - below standard and as such I have raised a formal regulatory issue. Sellafield are required to provide ONR with confidence that the necessary improvements are identified in the site-wide improvement plans and are adequately funded and resourced to ensure they will be effectively implemented in THORP within appropriate timescales.