Office for Nuclear Regulation

LC35 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 35 (Decommissioning). 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 adequacy of the facility’s decommissioning arrangements is therefore important to ensuring nuclear safety on the licensed site.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

Licence Condition 35 (LC 35) requires the licensee to make and implement adequate arrangements for the decommissioning of any plant or process 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 35 is good in many areas.  For instance, there was good evidence in relation to optioneering for the selection of decommissioning strategies and centralised locations within the facility, as well as the use of associated fit for purpose equipment. This is, however, offset by the shortcomings identified; specifically in relation to the lack of a plan for overall decommissioning of the facility.  For these reasons, on balance, I consider an IIS rating of 3 (Adequate) is merited against LC 35 as a result of this inspection.

Conclusion of Intervention

My findings were shared with, and accepted by, the licensee as part of normal inspection feedback. I have raised no Regulatory Issues as a result of this inspection.