Office for Nuclear Regulation

Sellafield - IRR inspection of HLWP

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

This report presents the findings of a planned intervention that was undertaken at the Sellafield nuclear licensed site in order to assess Sellafield Limited’s (SL) compliance with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17) within the High Level Waste Plants (HLWP) at Sellafield.  

The intervention was part of six planned interventions across the Sellafield site examining the standard of radiological protection culture and practice across multiple operating units.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The intervention was undertaken on 27th February 2019 by an ONR Radiological Protection Specialist Inspector and an ONR site inspector (SDFW) and consisted of an examination of the implementation of arrangements to secure compliance with the requirements of IRR17 by discussion with key facility personnel and inspection of the facility.  The key requirements examined were those relating to:

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable, this was not a System Based Inspection.

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

Prior to the inspection SL provided examples of radiological appointments, radiological advice and operating instructions in areas designated as C3/R3 or greater. From this information provided, I did not identify any significant shortfalls in the licensee’s formal arrangements for compliance with IRR17.

The inspection included a discussion with the Radiation Protection Advisor (RPA) and RPA Nominee for the HLWP and a review of their involvement in the provision of radiological advice. Overall I was satisfied that the arrangements in place for the control and monitoring of worker doses and the provision of radiological advice for the HLWP were adequate.

During the inspection of a HLWP source store, it was identified that there was insufficient RPS(S) cover for this source store and as a result a level 4 regulatory issue has been raised. Notwithstanding the shortfall identified above, it was recognised that the source store was generally in a tidy and ordered state with the appropriate records being kept up to date. Overall I was satisfied that the source store was in adequate working condition.

The inspection included a plant walk round to assess the standard of radiological protection culture and practices adopted across the HLWP. A number of interviews were conducted with personnel on plant, focussing on their understanding of; the radiological risks associated with their work, the control measures required, and their duties. There were some minor areas for improvement identified during the plant walk round and I advised the facility accordingly. Notwithstanding the minor issues, overall from the responses provided by the personnel interviewed and the examination of the facilities during the walk round; I identified no concerns relating to compliance with Regulation 15 and Regulation 18 of the IRR17.

Notwithstanding the shortfalls identified above in connection with the Source Store and insufficient RPS(S) cover, I judge that, on the basis of evidence sampled at the time of this inspection and the responses provided by the personnel interviewed, the licensee has adequately implemented its arrangements for compliance with IRR17 Regulation 9, 14, 15 and 18.  I therefore consider that the required standard was met and an inspection rating of Green is merited (No Formal Action).

The intervention was performed in line with ONR's guidance requirements (as described in our technical inspection guides) in the areas inspected.

Conclusion of Intervention

From the evidence gathered during this intervention, I do not consider there to be any matters that have the potential to impact significantly on radiological or nuclear safety.    

At present, no additional regulatory action is needed over and above the planned interventions for the compliance with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 at the Sellafield Nuclear Site.