Office for Nuclear Regulation

Aims and objectives

ONR independently regulates nuclear safety and security at 36 nuclear licensed sites in the UK. We also regulate transport and ensure that safeguards obligations for the UK are met. Our duty is to ensure that the nuclear industry controls its hazards effectively, has a culture of continuous improvement and maintains high standards.

The nuclear industry is undergoing rapid change and our role as a regulator is vital in ensuring new nuclear facilities are designed, built and operated to the highest standards, and in a manner that improves public confidence without compromising safety or security.

We also oversee the decommissioning of nuclear sites and cooperate with international regulators on safety and security issues of common concern, including associated research.

Our work is critical to the protection of society at large so it is important that we do it with rigour, diligence and with an appropriate level of assurance.

What we do

Our mission is to protect society by securing safe nuclear operations

All of our purposes are enablers for our mission and so, although we no longer refer distinctly to site security, it remains critical in our work. Often working in close partnership with other regulators, we will continue to deliver our five statutory purposes which together ensure safe nuclear operations now and in the long term:

How we do it

ONR sets out site licence conditions that each licensee must comply with in different ways; such as, with a safety case to meet a stage in the plant's life, or with arrangements and procedures to meet a licence condition. The conditions set out the general safety requirements to deal with the risks on a nuclear site. 

ONR seeks to maintain and improve safety standards for work with ionising radiations at licensed nuclear sites. It does so through its licensing powers by assessing safety cases and inspecting sites for licensing compliance. It sets national regulatory standards and helps to develop international nuclear safety standards.