Office for Nuclear Regulation

Quarterly Regulatory Review Meeting and Planned Level one Emergency Exercise

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

Planned two day intervention, primarily to observe the licensee’s annual Level One (‘on site’) demonstration emergency exercise, as well as participation in meetings with the licensee and a tenant organisation.  The intervention formed part of the 2015/16 ONR intervention programme at the Urenco UK Limited licensed site at Capenhurst.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

A two day intervention was conducted, involving (on the first day) participation in the quarterly regulatory review meeting, followed (on the second day) by observation of a Level One emergency exercise by a team of ONR inspectors and finally a meeting with the licensee’s Chief Nuclear Officer,

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

No system inspection was made during this intervention.

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

I participated in the quarterly regulatory review meeting between the regulators, the licensee and the Capenhurst Nuclear Services Limited tenant organisation.  This enabled me to review the licensee and tenant’s progress with decommissioning projects on the site, including the proposed completion of remediation of the part of a lightly contaminated area of the licensed site by March 2016.  Significant asbestos remediation projects continued to progress satisfactorily, as were the inspections by specialist contractors of the ageing ‘0236 type” “Legacy Hex Tails” cylinders.  I also reviewed safety performance metrics, which, on balance, I considered were acceptable.

Regulatory advice was provided across a range of matters, where the licensee agreed to address some minor shortfalls, exemplified by the need to improve the training attendance by the plant based ‘auxiliary fire fighters’.

Acceptable progress was reported with the timely implementation of tangible nuclear safety improvements, derived from the ongoing review of the safety cases, as part of the current “justification for continued operation” safety case periodic review process.

The Level One emergency exercise “Sycamore” was observed by a team of ONR inspectors.  The scenario was based on a release of uranium hexafluoride gas from within an enrichment facility.  Aspects of the licensee’s emergency response, including effective cooperation between the ‘on site’ and local authority fire and rescue services, were demonstrated to an acceptable standard.  Mustering of the entire site was demonstrated, including the large number of personnel working on the Tails Management Facility (TMF) construction site. 

The information exchange meeting requested by the licensee’s Chief Nuclear Officer enabled discussion on a broad range of regulatory topics.

Conclusion of Intervention

In view of the licensee’s and Capenhurst Nuclear Services Limited tenant organisation’s reported progress with site decommissioning projects, I concluded that a licence condition 35 (decommissioning) inspection rating of “3”, adequate, was appropriate. I also reviewed the ONR issues database with the licensee, for which an inspection rating of “3”, adequate, was considered appropriate.

Following observation of the Level One emergency exercise by a team of ONR inspectors, it was concluded this was an adequate demonstration of the ‘on site’ emergency arrangements.  I concluded that that a licence condition 11 (emergency arrangements) inspection rating of “3”, adequate, was therefore warranted.

The information exchange meeting requested by the licensee’s Chief Nuclear Officer was useful.  Given the brevity of this meeting, no inspection rating was warranted.