Office for Nuclear Regulation

Meeting and inspection regarding 132kV Cable Strike, Fellside CHP Sellafield

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The objective of this intervention was to seek assurance that Sellafield Limited (SL) is making adequate progress with the activities that relate to the issued Improvement Notice following the 132kV cable strike at Fellside Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant.

Agendas were produced for the meeting on 25 March 2019 and site visit 26 March 2019.

SL shared an overview of the planned programme activities that relate to closing out the Improvement Notice. 

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The intervention was to provide regulatory confidence in the management by the Principal Contractor of excavations on the Fellside CHP project, in particular:

(i) the preparation of systems of work to identify hazards posed by work near underground live electrical conductors, which may foreseeably give rise to danger;
(ii) ensuring that effective measures are put in place to control the identified risks arising from such hazards; and
(iii) ensure that workers are provided with relevant and understandable information on such measures. 

Regulatory judgement was based on determining compliance with Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the relevant statutory provisions, Approved Codes of Practice (ACoP) made under the Act, including the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate


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

A meeting was held on 25 March 2019 where Sellafield Limited described the actions they had taken to comply with the Improvement Notice by reference to the improvement plan that they had developed.  A visit was then made to site on 26 March 2019 to ensure that the improvements had been adequately implemented in practice.   

ONR considered that Sellafield Limited in the role as the Principal Contractor on the Fellside CHP project were able to demonstrate that systems of work for excavations near underground live electrical conductors had been reviewed by the revision of a Sellafield Ltd Site Instruction.  At the time of ONR’s visit there were no active excavations, so it was not possible for SL to demonstrate the use of the improved arrangements and work practices.   As ONR consider it important that SL provide such a demonstration, it was agreed that ONR would revisit the site to ensure demonstration of a work pack addressing the application of revised site instruction associated with the excavation.

Conclusion of Intervention

Good progress has been made by Sellafield Limited in addressing the deficiencies in their management arrangements for excavations.  However, SL need to demonstrate further evidence of implementation before the Improvement Notice can be considered complied.  There were some findings identified including, significantly, the incorrect version of a drawing on site, the procedures for storage of Cable Avoidance Tool utilisation information and workers not being sufficiently informed of the new arrangements.  To ensure that compliance shortfalls have been adequately addressed, a further site visit has been arranged for 16 April 2019.  However, it was considered that the inspection rating on this occasion should be Green (no formal action) and the findings identified considered during the next scheduled intervention.  No new Regulatory Issues were raised as a result of this inspection.