Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Quarterly site report for Winfrith 1 July - 30 September 2011


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

Site inspectors from ONR usually attend WSSG 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.

Post: Office for Nuclear Regulation
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
L20 7HS


The ONR Site Inspector made inspections on the following dates during the quarter:

Members of ONR's Environmental Impact Assessment of Decommissioning Regulations (EIADR) Team undertook an audit at Winfrith during the 27 September 2011.

ONR Fire Safety Inspector undertook an inspection on 27 July 2011.

Routine matters

Inspections at Winfrith
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 licensees/operators are 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 Winfrith covered:

Inspection of Operating Rule and Operating Instruction arrangements and their implementation concluded that the arrangements are adequate but implementation is below standard. This is based on an inspection of compliance within the facility occupied by Inutec Ltd. Inspection of the facility safety case raised a number of queries regarding the derivation and justification of limits and conditions derived to protect workers from unmitigated doses. Operating instructions did not accurately reflect practices being carried out to meet safety requirements identified in the safety case. Research Sites Restoration Ltd (RSRL) have been requested to provide confirmation to ONR that there is an adequate safety case for operations in Inutecs facilities and that adequate operating instructions exist for its implementation.
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.
The fire safety audit was undertaken against The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 focused on the theme of fire risk assessment and the fire strategy for the Steam Generating Heavy Water Reactor (SGHWR). The site produced a good performance in these areas.

The EIADR audit was undertaken against Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment for Decommissioning) Regulations 1999, as amended and reviewed the progress and future plans for decommissioning work, including the measures in place to minimise any adverse impacts on the environment. The audit also reviewed the associated RSRL management procedures and arrangements to ensure that they provide for full compliance with EIADR requirements. Overall, the potential impact on the environment from the decommissioning work was considered to be adequately managed and controlled. Similarly, the management arrangements and procedures for EIADR compliance were considered to be fit for purpose.

RSRL presented draft proposals for accelerated decommissioning of Winfrith Nuclear Licensed Site to ONR. There were no immediate issues apparent from the proposal but further discussions on definition of interim and final end states are expected to be necessary.

RSRL continue to progress with the development of revised site emergency arrangements that will include downsizing on-site emergency services. Regular discussions have been held with ONR and a formal submission detailing the proposed changes at Winfrith has been submitted to ONR for formal agreement. ONR specialists will consider this submission in detail before a decision is made.

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.

There were no matters of note to report.

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), but can take other forms. In addition, inspectors may issue enforcement notices to secure improvements to safety.

Reports detailing the above regulatory decisions can be found on the ONR website.

No Licence Instruments were issued in the period under report.

News from ONR

ONR Board

The full ONR Board came into effect on 25 July and comprises of nine members: Nick Baldwin as the Chair, four non-executive members (Steve Bundred, John Crackett, Paul Kenny and Kevin Myers) and four executive members (Kevin Allars, Paul Brown, John Seddon and Mike Weightman). Three Board meetings were held during this reporting period. Further information about the Board and minutes of the meetings can be found under the Board pages of the ONR website.

Moving towards a programme management organisation

Under the remit of ONR's transformational change programme, work is now underway to establish programme management principles within ONR. This way of working is closely aligned to industry and government programme management best practice and will enable ONR to meet increasing demands. This transformational change will: re-organise ONR's current organisational structure into four delivery-focused and integrated programmes (Civil Nuclear Reactors, Defence, Sellafield, Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste); establish a corporate programme office to co-ordinate and consolidate information across the programmes, ensuring consistency in operations, and, recruit programme managers to support each of the programmes. This approach supports the proposed establishment of ONR as a statutory corporation, signalling the ongoing commitment to securing an appropriately resourced and responsive regulator for the future.

ONR public consultation

From 19 Sept 12 Dec a 12-week public consultation is running to clarify ONR's interpretation of bulk quantities relating to radioactive matter. The nuclear site-licensing regime currently applies to a set of defined activities, which includes the storage of bulk quantities of radioactive matter. However, there is no clear definition of what constitutes bulk quantities of radioactive matter, storage of which would need to be licensed.

ONR corporate publications

ONR's first corporate plan for 2011-2015 and quarterly report have been published on the ONR website. The plan provides an insight into ONR's strategic intentions over the next five years and how these will be resourced. The quarterly report reflects the key themes and developments in each of ONR's regulatory programmes and explains the ongoing changes at ONR, as it progresses towards becoming an independent statutory corporation.

Also published on the website in September was the 2011 Nuclear Research Index (safety operating reactors). Traditionally the scope of the NRI is limited to operating nuclear reactors. Research work is done in other nuclear areas, but is coordinated separately. Therefore the scope of the 2011 NRI relates solely to the requirements for nuclear safety research relevant to operating nuclear reactors. ONR is planning to undertake a review to identify the overall requirements for nuclear safety research, including whether it should be extended to cover all areas of nuclear safety research.
Stress tests

The European Council requested a review of safety at European nuclear power plants. The European Commission supported by the European Nuclear Safety Regulatory Group (ENSREG), produced criteria and a plan for this review, now known as the ' EC stress test'. Participating nations agreed to provide progress reports by 15 September and full reports in December. The UK report compiled and delivered by ONR has been published online. 

Fukushima report

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, requested a report from chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman on lessons for the UK nuclear industry from the Japanese incident. The report will be delivered to DECC in the autumn and made public. An interim report was published in May, concluding that there was no reason to curtail nuclear plant operations in the UK. ONR has written to community groups around nuclear sites in the UK to establish levels in interest in ONR conducting a series of regional public briefings.

Site licence application for Hinkley Point C received

ONR received an application from NNB Generation Company on 29 July for a nuclear site licence, relating to its proposed development of a new nuclear power station in Hinkley Point. It is anticipated that ONR will spend around 18 months assessing NNB Generation Company's suitability, capability and competence to install, operate and decommission a nuclear facility. If licensed, the company will be subject to statutory obligations and regulation by ONR.

Nuclear Safety Directive and amended licence conditions

Amendments have been made licence condition 17 and 36 to allow the obligations of the Nuclear Safety Directive (NSD) 2009/71/Euratom, to be fully implemented in relation to Great Britain. In light of this, ONR's licence condition handbook has been updated and is available via the ONR website.