Office for Nuclear Regulation

Berkeley Nuclear Licensed Site Planned Inspections and Meetings

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

During the inspection I witnessed Berkeley’s level 1 emergency demonstration exercise and conducted the annual review of safety.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

Berkeley demonstrated how its emergency arrangements would be applied if an incident were to take place on the site.  In this instance although three people were present when the exercise started, as part of the scenario planned, none were available later to give information on what had happened.  The emergency team were able to show how they would operate in such a situation (without eye witnesses).

During the visit we also conducted the Berkeley annual review of safety, security and environment (AROSES).  For various aspects of nuclear safety Berkeley gave presentations on what had been achieved during the previous year, what had gone well with this work, what could be improved upon and what was planned to achieved during the next year.  We also had presentations from the Magnox Ltd site inspector and a safety representative.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

A system inspection was not undertaken during this intervention.

Key Findings, Inspector's Opinions and Reasons for Judgements Made

From the evidence we saw, Berkeley made an adequate demonstration of their emergency arrangements.  They were able to recover in reasonable time the casualties planned as part of the exercise scenario and deal with members of staff who had deliberately avoided the muster.  Some of the parts of the exercise was designed such that reliance on witness statements was not possible to inform decisions and the people concerned showed that they could think around the problems they faced.  Nevertheless there were areas for improvement and Berkeley will be putting into place appropriate ways of dealing with them.

During the AROSES, the regulators concluded that Berkeley had a productive year in taking forward decommissioning projects and demonstrating that intermediate level waste on the site can be retrieved and stored in a passively safe form without foreclosing future waste management options.  Care will need to be taken to ensure that the significant changes due to take place over the next year or so do not disrupt this progress with hazard reduction unnecessarily.

During the discussion, Berkeley noted that the given the conclusion of ONR’s inspections, the site was reassured that it is compliant with its legal obligations under the nuclear site licence. ONR inspector noted that Berkeley should put reliance on its own checks to satisfy itself that it is legally compliant.

Conclusion of Intervention

Berkeley gave an adequate demonstration of their emergency arrangements.

Berkeley demonstrated through their annual review of safety that they were actively seeking, and being effective in, reduction of the nuclear and conventional hazards and risks on the site.  Berkeley should undertake its own inspections to confirm it meets its nuclear safety legal obligations.