Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Quarterly statement of nuclear incidents at nuclear installations - 4th quarter 2006

HM Nuclear Installations Inspectorate

A statement on incidents at nuclear installations in Britain which meet Ministerial reporting criteria is reported to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Secretary of State for Scotland and is published every quarter by the Health and Safety Executive.

For the period 1 October 2006 to 31 December 2006 there was one incident at a nuclear licensed installation that met the reporting criteria.

Sellafield

A formal investigation has been undertaken by NII into the incident involving a major injury accident (a broken arm, fractured ulna and crush injuries to the wrist) to one of BNGSL workers whilst maintaining equipment in the Waste Treatment Complex Supercompactor Glovebox Suite on the Sellafield Licensed Site.

The results of the investigation have given rise to concerns regarding BNGSLs arrangements for compliance with The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRRs) and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).

Both the NII investigation and BNGSLs own Board of Inquiry have identified that several issues have arisen regarding the efficient working of the Supercompactor equipment.

These issues combined to promote degraded conditions and unreliability of the equipment and the requirement for frequent manual interventions. This resulted in the persons working on the plant being exposed to unacceptable risk from the serious and significant committed dose potential of a glove/skin puncture wound, as well as physical major injury.

NII investigation has shown that the unreliability stemmed from the equipment being used under conditions outside of its original design intent and not being maintained in efficient working order and in good repair.

BNGSL have responded cooperatively and proactively to both the Board of Inquiry report and the NII investigation and this has informed NII thinking with respect to the requirement for formal enforcement action.

An Improvement Notice is to be issued to enforce the necessary improvements required to make working on the Supercompactor Glovebox suite safe.

Single copies of statements are available free from the Health and Safety Executive, Nuclear Directorate, Division 4a, Building 4 NG.1, Redgrave Court, Merton Road, Bootle, L20 7HS,