Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Frequently asked questions

Will it be the company registration number, company name, or parent company on the registration and consent certificates?

It will be the name of the organisation making the application. The address should be the main address where those responsible for Health and Safety are located. This would normally be the main correspondence address of the employer - it is not necessarily the address of the location where the practice of work with ionising radiations is undertaken.

What constitutes a ‘nuclear installation’ under regulation 6(2)(c)?*

“Nuclear Installation” has the meaning given to it in the Nuclear Installations Act 1965. The term comprises nuclear reactors (other than a nuclear reactor comprised in a means of transport, whether by land, water or air) and prescribed installations.

Prescribed installations can be found in The Nuclear Installations Regulations 1971

Guidance on this matter is also given in ONR publication Licensing Nuclear Installations (4th edition: January 2015), from which the following extract is taken.

“Such installations include nuclear power stations, nuclear fuel manufacturing facilities, nuclear defence facilities for weapons manufacturing and fuelling/maintenance of nuclear submarines, reprocessing facilities and facilities for the storage of bulk quantities of radioactive matter which has been produced or irradiated in the course of the production or use of nuclear fuel.”

An installation is not a nuclear installation simply by virtue of being situated on a nuclear premise: any installation that could be legally operated on a non-nuclear premise is not a “nuclear installation” for the purposes of regulation 6(2)(c). 

*‘the operation or decommissioning of any nuclear installation’

What constitutes a facility for the long-term storage or disposal of waste (or the management of waste for this purpose) under regulation 6(2)(d)*?

A facility for the long-term storage or disposal of waste (or the management of waste for this purpose) includes the following :

  • Long-term radioactive waste stores;
  • Radioactive waste processing facilities closely associated with on-site long-term radioactive waste stores or disposal facilities;
  • Buffer radioactive waste stores associated with disposal routes or on-site long term radioactive waste stores; and
  • Long-term radioactive waste disposal facilities.

Such facilities are not necessarily prescribed installations under The Nuclear Installations Regulations 1971.

*‘the operation, decommissioning or closure of any facility for the long-term storage or disposal of radioactive waste (including facilities managing radioactive waste for this purpose) where such facility is situated on a site licensed under section 1 of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965’

What responsibility does an operator have to confirm that contractors working on its nuclear premise have an appropriate registration and/or all appropriate consents?

Nuclear site licensees are expected to confirm that contractors working on its nuclear premise have an appropriate registration and/or all appropriate consents in place prior to the contractor starting any work with ionising radiation.

This is in accordance with Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 4(3) of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017.

If an employer commences a registerable or specified practice on or before the 5th February 2018, but does not obtain an ONR registration or consent for that practice on or before 5th Feb 2018, does it need to discontinue that practice?

Yes, the employer will be non-compliant and should discontinue the practice.

In accordance with the transitional provisions made in regulation 41, an employer who carries out a registerable or specified practice on or before the 5th February 2018 will be compliant with the regulations if they obtain a registration or consent from ONR (in the form of a certificate) for that practice on a date no later than the 5th February 2018 (inclusive). If a registration or consent is not obtained by this date, then the employer will have failed to comply with the law and will also continue to be in a state of non-compliance unless they discontinue the practice.

Does the modification under Reg 40, in particular Reg 40(4) make any difference to the application process for the MoD?

No, because the ONR process limits the information requested to a minimum; the ONR does not believe the information requested would fall into that listed in regulation 40(4).

If a contractor from an EU member state  (e.g. a foreign industrial radiography company) has complied with the graded approach as implemented in the domestic legislation of their EU member state of origin then will this satisfy the requirements of the UK regulations if they subsequently carry out work in the UK?

No. They will need to comply with British law and the British process.

What is a ‘material change’?

An explanation of a material change can be found in the guidance provided in the HSE’s L121 (second edition) publication at guidance paragraph 5(5).

What is the boundary of the ‘nuclear premise’ and in particular the boundary of a new nuclear build site?

The term “nuclear premises” means premises which are or are on the following:

  • A GB nuclear site;
  • An authorised defence site;
  • A new nuclear build site; or
  • A nuclear warship site

The four terms have, respectively, the meaning that they are given in the following legislation:

  • Section 68 of the Energy Act 2013;
  • Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998*;
  • Regulation 2A of the Health and Safety(Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998*; and
  • Regulation 2B of the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998*

(*) S.I. 1998/494

Can the operator of a nuclear premise obtain copies of contractor registration/consent certificates from ONR?

No. The operator should obtain copies of registration/consent certificates directly from the contractor.

What is the ONR interpretation of ‘exclusively or primarily’?

The "exclusively or primarily" phrase is used in regulations 5, 6, and 7 to set out the circumstances in which ONR is the appropriate authority for those regulations. The following is the case:

  • Any employer who carries out work with ionising radiation on a nuclear premise should, as appropriate, notify, register, or seek consent from the ONR;
  • Any employer who carries out work with ionising radiation anywhere else should, as appropriate, notify, register, or seek consent from the HSE; and
  • Any employer who carried out work with ionising radiation on both a nuclear premise and elsewhere should, as appropriate, notify, register, or seek consent from both the ONR and the HSE.  

Do all Contractors need to apply?

The guidance ONR can now provide is based on a range of scenarios, which have been agreed with HSE to ensure a consistent application of the 'graded approach'.

1. Nuclear dutyholder

The nuclear dutyholder has a designated area where they operate electrical equipment emitting ionising radiation. They contract a firm to service this equipment. They transfer control of the designated area to the firm while they carry out the servicing of the equipment. As part of the servicing, the contracted firm operates the equipment.

We agreed that the practice, in the context of the servicing of the equipment, was carried out by the contracted firm and not by the nuclear dutyholder and, therefore, the contracted firm would require a registration/consent regardless that the nuclear dutyholder had the appropriate certificate already.

2. Security Staff with Baggage Scanners

A site operator contracts a security firm to provide security staff and services. The site operator provides baggage scanners to facilitate the contractor’s delivery of their security services. The baggage scanners are used and operated by the security staff in accordance with the security firm’s procedures

We agreed that the practice is carried out by the security firm and, therefore, the security firm would require a registration. The effect of regulation 4(3) IRR 2017 is that the site licensee would also need a registration.

3. A company provides self-employed health physics monitors to a holder of a nuclear site licence

Company X provides a number of self-employed health physics monitors to a holder of a nuclear site licence. The monitors undertake their work in accordance with the licensee’s procedures and at times and locations set by the licensee.

We agreed that the workers, despite being considered self-employed for tax/other purposes, may be regarded as "employees" of the licensee for the purposes of the health and safety law and so the practice is carried out by the licensee. Consequently, the licensee would require the appropriate registrations/consent, and the self-employed worker would not require the appropriate registration/consent.

Given the effect of regulation 4(3) IRR 2017 the site licensee would need to hold a registration/consent anyway, regardless of the fact that the licensee would also need a registration/consent because they are also the employer.

In addition, the following consensus has been agreed with HSE:

  • The carrying out of work in an area where employees may be exposed to ambient ionising radiation fields, would need to enter a designated area, would need to wear PPE, and/or might be affected by a radiation accident are examples of work that does not, by itself, constitute a practice.

Examples would be (but not limited too) those undertaking building cleaning, and maintenance staff not undertaking a practice.

A further example is:

  • Method statements produced by a contractor are reviewed by the licensee and then integrated into the licensee’s "Safe System of Work" together with application of the Radiological Risk Assessment, etc. The licensee is in control of the work and the contractor is carrying out the practice under the licensee’s control (possibly with a contractor's supervisor). Does the contractor need to register the practice with ONR?

In the proposed scenario above, the contractor is not seen as an employee of the licensee, so would require registration and or consent.