Office for Nuclear Regulation

LC 28 Inspection – Sellafield Site Wide Infrastructure; Analytical Services, on Sellafield Ltd.’s nuclear licensed site at Sellafield, Cumbria

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interactions with Sellafield Limited (SL), the site licensee, against a strategy defined by the ONR Sellafield Programme.  The planned inspection schedule for the current regulatory year (covering April 2015 – March 2016), the content of which is guided by that strategy, identifies the Licence Conditions (LCs) that will be inspected over this period.

This planned intervention was undertaken to determine if the Infrastructure organisation is adequately implementing SL’s site-wide arrangements for compliance with Licence Condition 28 (examination, inspection, maintenance and testing). The intervention targeted the implementation of Sellafield’s arrangements within the Analytical Services Laboratory on the Sellafield site. This laboratory provides analytical services to other facilities across the site, receiving samples for assessment and characterisation on a routine basis. The work of the facility is important to ensuring that these other facilities remain within their safe operating envelopes, as well as characterising waste associated with hazard and risk reduction across the site. In addition, the Analytical Services facility, which comprises a number of laboratories, contains a significant radioactive inventory within its cells, gloveboxes, and fumehoods. The facility also contains legacy waste which is subject to a disposal programme under regulatory oversight. The adequate maintenance of items important to safety within the Analytical Services facility is therefore important to ensuring nuclear safety on the licensed site.

My inspection specifically focussed on electrical distribution equipment within the boundary of the facility, as part of a wider intervention regarding electrical distribution and supply on the Sellafield site. The electrical equipment within the facility plays a key role in maintaining safe operations, for example through providing power to the nuclear ventilation system.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

Licence Condition 28 (LC 28) requires the licensee to make and implement adequate arrangements for the regular and systematic examination, inspection, maintenance and testing of all plant which may affect safety. My inspection, which comprised discussions with SL staff and examination of plant documentation, and inspection of relevant facilities, focussed on the following areas:

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable; this was not a Safety System inspection.

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

I consider the facility’s implementation of the site’s arrangements for LC 28 associated with electrical distribution equipment is good in some areas.  For instance there was good evidence in relation to the competence of personnel. This is, however, offset by the significant shortcomings identified; specifically in relation to the lack of adequate maintenance for the large number of minor distribution boards within the facility, in addition to the early findings associated with a recent electrical isolation event where safety was seriously compromised. I am, however, satisfied that SL is aware of these shortfalls, and specifically has put in place appropriate short term measures to control the safety of future electrical isolations on the facility.  For these reasons, on balance, I consider an IIS rating of 4 (Below Standard) is merited against LC 28 as a result of this inspection.

Conclusion of Intervention

My findings were shared with, and accepted by, the dutyholders as part of normal inspection feedback. I have raised two Regulatory Issues as a result of this inspection; one associated with the need for SL to undertake intrusive maintenance on the large number of minor electrical distribution boards within the facility, and one associated with the need for SL to ensure safe electrical isolation practices going forwards.