Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Two reactive site inspections, responding to the Licensee's announcement of the early cessation of production from the Uranium Hexafluoride Plant, now proposed for Aug 2014, rather than 2016

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

A reactive intervention was made to discuss the licensee's proposals to manage the response to the announcement of the early cessation of production at the uranium hexafluoride production plant in August 2014.

A reactive meeting was held to consult with the safety representatives regarding the implications of the uranium hexafluoride production plant announcement and other site related matters.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

On 31 March, the licensee had informed the work force and ONR of the plan to cease production at the uranium hexafluoride plant at the end of August 2014, bringing forward the previously planned date, which had been 2016. There will be a reduction in the site work force and a site wide voluntary severance scheme had been introduced, aiming to release personnel from all aspects of the site operations. A meeting was held to discuss how the licensee was planning to manage the consequential organisational changes. The nominated site inspector and two specialist inspectors represented ONR.

A reactive meeting was then held with the safety representatives, ONR consulting with them to gain their perspective on the licensee's preliminary management of the proposed organisational changes. The nominated site inspector and two specialist inspectors represented ONR.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable on this occasion.

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

From the reactive intervention with the licensee's overall project manager, personnel managers and others, supported by two specialist inspectors, I gained assurance that the licensee would be duly applying the required licence condition 36 organisational capability safety arrangements. A good appreciation was gained of the proposed scope and proposed timescale for implementation of site wide personnel reductions, involving around 200 to 210 posts across the site.

Following the consultation with the safety representatives, ONR gained assurance that the licensee had effectively engaged with, and was appropriately consulting, the safety representatives, regarding safety aspects of the emerging site wide staff reduction proposals. There was the usual open and effective dialogue with the safety representatives.

Conclusion of Intervention

For the intervention in response to the licensee's announcement of the early cessation of uranium hexafluoride production, I concluded that an inspection rating of "3", adequate was appropriate. The licensee was clearly conscious of the need to implement the relevant licence condition 36 "organisational capability arrangements top all safety aspects of the proposed site wide manpower reductions. Given that the voluntary severance application closing date had only just closed, the organisational change process was currently only at a very early stage. The licensee was receptive to the regulatory advice provided by ONR.

For the consultation with the safety representatives, regarding the uranium hexafluoride announcement and other matters, I concluded that an inspection rating of "2" good was appropriate. There was the usual degree of very open and effective dialogue between the licensee's safety representatives and ONR.