Office for Nuclear Regulation

Determine the adequacy of Sellafield’s implementation of the Supply Chain Improvement Plan (SCIP)

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interaction with the Sellafield site licensee (Sellafield Ltd, SL) against a strategy defined by the ONR Sellafield, Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste (SDFW) Division. In accordance with this strategy, the licensee’s arrangement for implementing its supply chain initiative governed by the SL Supply Chain Improvement Plan (SCIP) was inspected as planned on the 26 – 27 February 2019.  

The purpose of this inspection was to determine the adequacy of implementation of the SL SCIP initiative, titled ‘Initiative 3.1 - Provide a fit for purpose, quality grading process to Sellafield Ltd’, and its compliance with the expectations of Licence Condition 17 – Management Systems. This initiative was chosen as its output could directly affect the execution and effectiveness of supply chain activities.   

The inspection was conducted by ONR Supply Chain and Quality Inspectors. It focused on:

The inspection was conducted via:

The following ONR and supporting documentation formed the benchmark standards for the inspection:

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

This was not applicable as this was not a system based inspection.

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

SL explained the purpose of quality grading, where the degree of quality assurance arrangements required was commensurate with the nuclear safety risk and how this principle was evident in the two procedures. The SL explanation and application of the quality grading was in accordance with LC 17 – Management Systems requirements and supporting Leadership and Management for Safety - General Safety Requirements (GSR) Part 2 expectations, applying appropriate management systems controls to the associated safety significance and potential impact (risk) of the activity.

SL provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate the governance arrangements used to provide oversight for the development, monitoring and managed close out of the said initiative.  This included routine governance arrangements at project level including key metrics, defined purpose and scope of the initiative, key deliverables, expected outcomes, interfacing with relevant stakeholders and a time line with expected milestones to track delivery. The evidence was in accordance with expectations within NS-TAST-GD-077.

Evidence of upward reporting to SL senior management was available via quarterly progress review and with formal arrangements to determine the maturity of the initiative and recommend close out.

The project representatives demonstrated sound knowledge in the graded approach to quality management, providing detailed explanations of how it was applied including determination of enhanced arrangements to manage nuances of particular risks.

Detailed records were available across all four sampled projects,   providing sufficient examples of how the graded approach to quality was adequately applied to individual projects.

While the quality grading principle within the original and the additional procedures were applied throughout the four projects that we sampled, the additional procedure (SLSP 1.02.07.24) did not appear to be fully deployed. There was no evidence to demonstrate how SL planned to embed the use of the additional procedure in their EPC contract arrangement. This absence of full deployment could affect the ability of SL EPC contractors to adequately determine the appropriate quality requirements commensurate with the associated risk required for future contracts, in accordance with the SL expectations and relevant good practice.

Conclusion of Intervention

From discussions with the relevant personnel and evidence sampled during the inspection, I consider that the licensee has adequately implemented the principles of a graded approach to quality management. Therefore, it is my opinion that the rating of Green (no formal action) is merited.

I have raised a regulatory issue at Level 4 to track the licensee’s progress for the continued deployment of its procedure ‘SLSP 1.02.07.24 – Application of quality oversight and assurance for the project plant and equipment’.