Office for Nuclear Regulation

Sellafield - LC 25 inspection of AGR Fuel Interim Storage at TR&S pond

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

This intervention, conducted at the Sellafield Limited (SL) licensed site in Cumbria, was undertaken as part of the 2018/19 Objective 4 plan task sheet, to support the ONR permissioning decision for Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR) Spent Fuel Interim Storage.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I conducted a Licence Condition (LC) 25 (“Operational Records”) inspection focused on the licensee’s arrangements for the production, storage and retrieval of operational records required as part of the safe storage of AGR fuels in the THORP Receipt and Storage Pond (TR&S) at Sellafield Ltd’s nuclear licensed site. This inspection was conducted to inform ONR’s judgement regarding the adequacy of the licensee’s records relating to the amount, location and condition of nuclear fuel stored at the site, and to support the upcoming permissioning decision for spent AGR fuel interim storage.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable.

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

No matters were identified requiring immediate regulatory attention during the conduct of the compliance inspection.

SL was able to retrieve a full set of operational records for the fuel skips sampled during this inspection from receipt on site approximately 20 years ago to its current storage location in TR&S. SL was also able to demonstrate that it has access to the operational records stored by EDF Energy that it will need to support the safe storage of fuel and the ultimate disposal in the Geological Disposal Facility. On this basis I am satisfied that SL’s arrangements for creating, maintaining, storing, and retrieving operational records to support long term storage of AGR fuel in TR&S meets Relevant Good Practice (RGP) detailed in joint guidance on “The management of higher activity radioactive waste on nuclear licensed sites. Rev2” issued by ONR/EA/NRW/SEPA and in the ONR LC25 Technical Inspection Guide. Whilst SL’s arrangements met RGP I identified the following observations where the licensee could further improve its arrangements for management of operational records:

SL stated that it will review its back-up arrangements for this data and is in discussions with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and EDF Energy to formalise contractual arrangements. It is anticipated that this process would be completed by December 2018. This will be followed up as part of routine regulatory business by the Nuclear Liabilities Specialist Inspector.

Conclusion of Intervention

I am satisfied that SL has appropriate arrangements and adequate records to support the safe storage of spent AGR fuel in the TR&S pond. This inspection has demonstrated that SL has the ability to identify fuel, the operational and storage conditions throughout the entire lifetime of the fuel, down to a suitable level of detail (i.e. individual fuel pin, but element is likely to be most useful). SL also demonstrated it has access to appropriate records to underpin safety for long-term storage and eventual disposal. I therefore consider, noting the ONR guidance on inspection ratings, that an inspection rating of Green (no formal action required) is merited here.