Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Research Sites Restoration Ltd (RSRL) - Winfrith - Planned Intervention

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This was a planned inspection at Research Sites Restoration Ltd’s (RSRL’s) Winfrith site, undertaken as part of the planned intervention strategy for the Winfrith site for 2014/15.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

In relation to Licence Condition 27 (LC27) “safety mechanisms, devices and circuits” I (nominated site inspector) considered two topics.  The first was RSRL’s LC27 compliance arrangements whilst the second was implementation of these at the Steam Generating Heavy Water Reactor (SGHWR).  These topics were selected since I was not familiar with RSRL’s LC27 arrangements and the intervention would inform a meeting on SGHWR core segmentation later in the week.

I attended a Winfrith Site Stakeholder Group (SSG) meeting on 4 November 2014.

I held a meeting with the RSRL Winfrith safety representatives, to support their function of representing employees and receiving information on matters affecting their health, safety and welfare at work.

I held a telecom relating to RSRL’s “flexible permissioning” arrangements.  These arrangements allow ONR to permission projects without having to exercise primary powers under the conditions attached by ONR to the nuclear site licence granted under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965.  I held the telecom to inform a meeting on SGHWR core segmentation later in the week.

ONR civil engineering, mechanical engineering, radioactive waste, radiological protection, fault studies and control and instrumentation inspectors, the Environment Agency nuclear regulator and myself held a meeting/ telecom and plant tour on 6 November 2014 to discuss RSRL’s Preliminary Safety Report for SGHWR core segmentation.  The objectives of this meeting/ telecom and plant tour were to inform an ONR letter from myself to flexibly permission RSRL to commence detailed design of core segmentation and radioactive waste processing plant and equipment and to define ONR’s future regulatory strategy for this project.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable.

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

In relation to LC27, I identified no issues during my review of LC27 arrangements.  I sampled the SGHWR primary containment Safety Mechanism, Device or Circuit (SMDC) and was provided with evidence to support a claim that this SMDC is in good working order.  Taking all these factors into account I assigned an Integrated Intervention Strategy (IIS) rating of 3 (adequate) to LC27.

In relation to flexible permissioning, I raised an issue to ensure that these arrangements formed part of RSRL’s arrangements for relevant Licence Conditions (19, 20, 21, 22, 35 and 36).  I also raised an issue relating to RSRL’s “fixed permissioning” arrangements.  Resolution of this issue will mean that RSRL will submit all its most safety significant submissions (Category 1/A) to ONR for Agreement or Acknowledgement prior to their implementation.

The objectives of the SGHWR core segmentation meeting/ telecom and plant tour were met.  Based on ONR specialist inspector inputs I will a) produce a letter to flexibly permission RSRL to commence detailed design of core segmentation and radioactive waste processing plant and equipment and b) revise ONR’s future regulatory strategy for this project.

In relation to the other activities undertaken in this intervention, no key findings arose.

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

From the evidence gathered during this intervention, no matters have been identified that are likely to have a significant impact on nuclear safety on the site at this time.  Therefore, no additional regulator action arising from this visit is considered necessary at this time.