Office for Nuclear Regulation

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UUK Capenhurst - Observation of L2 Exercise Cypress

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This intervention report covers site based observation of the Level 2 Emergency Exercise 'Cypress' which was held at Urenco UK (UUK) Capenhurst on Wednesday 9th April 2014.

Good practices observed during the exercise included broadly effective command and control in the Emergency Control Room (ECR) and Emergency Head Quarters (EHQ), a professional and calm approach by participants in what were sometimes stressful and untried situations and regular and effective briefing of participants.

Improvements could be made in some areas including the ability to muster personnel in an efficient and timely manner, provision of sufficient trained and competent personnel to carry out emergency roles (particularly in the EHQ) effectively and improvements to the means of communicating.

Taken overall, whilst this particular scenario was resolved in what appeared to be a successful manner, some aspects of the response were hampered by a lack of suitable and sufficient support personnel and inadequate/outdated technology.

Relevant aspects of the UUK/Capenhurst on-site capability map will be amended to appropriately reflect the outcome of this exercise and enable tracking of improvements to completion.

Purpose of Intervention

The primary purpose of this intervention was to assess the adequacy of UUK's on-site arrangements to respond to an emergency with off-site consequences, particularly focussing on interactions with external agencies.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

An ONR Inspector - Nuclear Safety from the Emergency Preparedness & Response (EP&R) Team observed the response to the on-site emergency in the ECR, EHQ and roll-call area from initiation of the exercise to termination of on-site elements of the response, and subsequently attended the hot debrief.

The ONR Site Inspector responded to the emergency in real time from Bootle. Delays in notifying ONR of the event resulted in a significantly delayed arrival on-site at 12:10, following a briefing at the RCIS at 11:15.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable.

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

A number of good practices were observed during the exercise, including:

There were a number of areas where significant improvements could be made, including:

Although there are improvements that could be made, the response to the emergency was both timely and professional, with what appeared to be broadly appropriate actions being taken, at least at the strategic (EHQ) and tactical (ECR) levels. It is considered that some of the issues identified partially resulted from the artificial nature of the exercise (for example, a number of staff were apparently observing the exercise at the off-site centre) and may not be so apparent during a real emergency. As a result, and taken overall, the on-site actions were considered to be broadly successful.