Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Quarterly site report for Trawsfynydd

1 April 2011 - 30 June 2011

Foreword

This report is issued as part of the Office for Nuclear Regulations (ONR) commitment to make information about inspection and regulatory activities relating to Trawsfynydd available to the public. Reports are distributed quarterly to members of the Trawsfynydd Site Stakeholder Group and are also available on the ONR website.

Site inspectors from ONR usually attend meetings of the Trawsfynydd Site Stakeholder Group and will respond to any questions raised there by the members of the group. Any other person wishing to inquire about matters covered by this report should contact the ONR.

Email: ONRenquiries@onr.gov.uk
Post: Office for Nuclear Regulation
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
Bootle
Merseyside
L20 7HS

Inspections

ONR made inspections on the following dates during the quarter:

Routine matters

Inspections at Trawsfynydd

Inspections are undertaken as part of the process for monitoring compliance with:

  1. the conditions attached by HSE/ONR to the nuclear site licence;
  2. the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (HSWA) 1974; and
  3. regulations made under the HSWA (for example the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999).

This entails monitoring licensees actions on the site in relation to incidents, operations, maintenance, projects, modifications, safety case changes and any other matters which may affect safety. The licensee is required to make and implement adequate arrangements under the conditions attached to the licence in order to ensure legal compliance. Inspections seek to judge both the adequacy of these arrangements and their implementation. In this period routine inspections of Trawsfynydd covered:

In general the arrangements made and implemented by the site in response to safety requirements were deemed to be adequate in the areas inspected. However, where improvements were considered necessary, satisfactory commitments to address the issues were made by the licensee, and the Site Inspector will monitor progress during future visits. Where necessary, formal regulatory enforcement action will be taken to ensure that appropriate remedial measures are implemented to reasonably practicable timescales.

Annual Safety Review Meeting: The meeting for 2011 was held in May, and was preceded by a general inspection of the site. The licensees safety performance and plans were discussed.

Visit by ONR Senior Staff: In June Colin Patchett, HM Deputy Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations for civil nuclear power stations, visited the site. He was accompanied by Neil Baldwin (the licensees Managing Director) and their staff, who together saw the main nuclear plants.

EIADR: An audit was made of compliance with the Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment) for Decommissioning Regulations 1999.

Site Stakeholder Group: The site inspector attended the biannual meeting of the SSG, making a short presentation.

Non-routine matters

Licensees are required to have arrangements to respond to non-routine matters and events. ONR inspectors judge the adequacy of the licensees response, including actions taken to implement any necessary improvements.

Reactor building walls: Earlier this year Magnox Ltd began to strengthen parts of the walls of the reactor buildings when they realised that changes to design codes since they were built had not been fully taken into account. The aim was to restore safety margins against very high winds to those expected of modern structures. This strengthening programme was given new importance when it was discovered at the end of the quarter that some reinforcing bars in the walls had broken. ONR will inspect the site and assess the licensees proposed remedial measures.

Fire: On 5 May a small electrical fire in a plant being decommissioned was attended by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Though the safety significance proved to be low, the licensee declared a site incident as a precaution, successfully mustering and accounting for staff.

Regulatory activity

Under health and safety legislation, ONR site inspectors, and other HSE inspectors, may issue formal documents to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Under nuclear site licence conditions, ONR issues regulatory documents, which either permit an activity or require some form of action to be taken; these are usually collectively termed licence instruments (LIs). In addition, inspectors may issue enforcement notices to secure improvements to safety.

No licence instruments or enforcement notices were issued during the quarter.

News from ONR

ONR update

Nick Baldwin was appointed as the interim Chair of ONR with effect from 1 April 2011. He was the chief executive of Powergen until 2002, having joined the company in 1989 and held a series of board-level and senior management positions. Until recently he was a non-executive director of Scottish and Southern Energy and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The interim Chair appointment is expected to be for a period of two to three years, pending the successful passage of legislation to establish the ONR on a statutory basis. Nick is Chair of the ONR Board, which has corporate responsibility for ensuring that the ONR fulfils the aims set out in the Framework Document, and the objectives and key performance measures agreed under it. This document sets out the framework under which ONR will operate as an agency within the wider HSE and constitutes the authority for the conduct of its operations.

The first meeting of the ONR Board was held on 20 June 2011.

Further information about the ONR Board and a copy of the Framework Document can be found under the Board pages of the ONR website.

Fukushima and the UK nuclear industry

On 12 March 2011, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change asked Mike Weightman, HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations, to produce a report on the implications and lessons for the UK nuclear industry of the accident that took place at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Japan. This work will be taken forward in co-operation and co-ordination with national stakeholders and international colleagues. The Secretary of State asked for an interim report by the middle of May 2011, and a final more comprehensive report in September.

ONR established project and technical support teams to look at aspects of the Fukushima event that were likely to be important lessons.

In addition to these teams ONR sought assistance from a wide range of organisations and issued an invitation to anyone able and willing to assist. To provide independent technical advice to the Chief Inspector during the production of the interim report, a wide range of stakeholders were asked to nominate an expert to attend an ONR Technical Advisory Panel (TAP). The TAP provided valuable input to the interim report and will continue to provide advice as ONR completes the final report.

The interim report, Japanese earthquake and tsunami: Implications for the UK Nuclear Industry was published on 18 May and concludes that there is no need to curtail the operations of nuclear plants in the UK but lessons should be learnt. It recommends 25 areas for reviewby industry, the Government or regulatorsto determine whether sensible and appropriate measures can further improve safety in the UK nuclear industry. These include the design and layout of UK power plants, emergency response arrangements, dealing with prolonged loss of power supplies, and the risks associated with flooding. A 26th recommendation calls for plans to be published by the middle of June detailing how each of the 25 recommendations will be addressed.

The ONR teams are now working on the final report (final submissions were requested by 15 June).

Further information, including a copy of the interim report and details of the technical advisory panel, is available on the ONR Fukushima website.