Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Statement of civil incidents meeting the Ministerial Reportable Criteria (MRC) reported to ONR - Q4 2016

1 October 2016 to 31 December 2016

A statement on incidents at nuclear installations in Great Britain and during the transport of radioactive material, which meet Ministerial Reporting Criteria (MRC), is provided to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Secretary of State for Scotland and Wales, and is published each quarter by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

For the period, 1 October 2016 to 31 December 2016, there was one incident which met the MRC.

Dounreay Site Restoration Limited – Dounreay – Contamination on the transfer of a redundant glovebox – 19th September 2016

Ministerial Reporting Criterion – Abnormal occurrences leading to a confirmed release to atmosphere or spillage of a radioactive substance which exceeds or is expected to exceed, the limits set out in Column 4 of Schedule 8 to the Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999, excepts where the release is in a manner specified in an Authorisation under the Environmental Permitting Regulation 2010 or Radioactive Substances Act 1993.

INES Rating 1

During the transfer of a redundant glove box to the manipulator store radioactive material was released onto the floor of the plant.  A Health Physics surveyor’s shoe and an operator’s shoe and coverall leg were found to be contaminated. No activity-in-air monitors were triggered, and there was no detectable intake of radioactive material by any of the people involved in the incident. As soon as the incident was discovered an initial monitoring survey was undertaken to determine areas of contamination and the plant was made safe and assessed for a controlled re-entry. 

Subsequently a recovery operation to identify and clean-up the contamination released has been completed. Monitoring activities have indicated that the contamination was contained entirely within the facility. The radioactive material released was assessed as being reportable as required by the Ionising Radiation Regulations1999.

The licensee has completed an investigation to determine the underlying causes of the incident and has communicated the learning across the site. ONR examined both the licensee’s initial response to the event, and its subsequent investigation and resulting improvement plan. ONR is satisfied with the adequacy of the response and progress of the actions which senior management of the licensee have committed to address. The implementation of the actions will be monitored as part of ONR’s future inspections.