Office for Nuclear Regulation

Oldbury Meetings and Annual Review of Safety

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

This report covers the annual review of Magnox Ltd’s Oldbury nuclear licensed site on 9 and 10 July 2015.  I also: met some of the site’s safety representatives; discussed the fuel-free verification project; and the potential use of divers to cut-up radioactive cooling pond furniture.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The annual review of safety and the meeting with the safety representatives were undertaken as part of a programme of planned interventions in the Oldbury intervention plan for 2015-16.  The other meetings were to gain information to consider when undertaking future planned inspections.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

My inspection did not include a safety system inspection.

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

Oldbury showed the Superintending Inspector the areas of the site where hazard reduction work was being carried out.  This included: removal of bulk asbestos from two large vessels on the turbine hall roof; the electrical overlay project; the defuelling activities and verification processes; and waste management activities.

Oldbury demonstrated during the annual review how improvements to conduct of operations had been made since the last review.  We noted the effort the site had expended to look for continuous safety improvements and the statistics presented indicated the improvements had been effective.  ONR noted the significant progress made towards completion of defueling and that its milestone would signal the start of decommissioning as the main activity on the site.  This would result in actively removing contaminated material with a view to placing it in a passively safe form for long term storage either at Oldbury or another Magnox nuclear licensed site and would require the site to give enhanced attention to its arrangements for contamination control.

Oldbury is due to be free of nuclear fuel early in 2016.  The site showed us how it was developing its arrangements to demonstrate this. This will be useful for me as I will be able to time my inspections to coincide with verification activities.  The timing of these activities may affect by the proposal to temporarily store the IonSivs from Dungeness A and Sizewell A in the Oldbury pond.  I reminded Oldbury that they needed to consider the requirements of licence conditions as well as transport regulations when developing the IonSiv proposal. 

Oldbury provided me with further information on the use of divers in the fuel pond to cut-up contaminated furniture.  I will bring this to the attention of ONR and HSE experts in this area.

Conclusion of Intervention

Oldbury demonstrated that significant improvements in operational safety had been achieved since the last annual review of safety.  We noted that the site was proactively learning from other Magnox sites that had done similar nuclear safety and waste management activities and was actively considering how to apply the information to Oldbury’s decommissioning. Some members of staff from the other sites were seconded to Oldbury to improve knowledge transfer.