Office for Nuclear Regulation

AWE - SBI inspection of Glovebox System

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interaction with the Burghfield site licensee (AWE Limited) against a strategy defined by the ONR Weapons sub-Division. In accordance with that strategy, a System Based Inspection (SBI) was carried out on the Assembly Technology Centre (ATC), as planned, in July 2019. 

The purpose of this inspection was for the ONR to determine the adequacy of implementation of those safety claims related to the system being inspected.  As part of the SBI methodology, adequacy of implementation against six pre-defined Licence Conditions (LC) was also considered.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

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

I undertook a System Based Inspection of Gloveboxes and their supporting Systems, Structures or Components (SSC’s) which are installed within two facilities in the ATC.  As part of the inspection I made judgements as to the adequacy of compliance against six Licence Conditions;

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

The safety system for the ATC gloveboxes and their associated SSC’s is judged to be adequate.

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

The inspection consisted of two facility walkdowns, a review of the safety case and a two day inspection where documented evidence was presented and a broad range of facility staff interviewed.

From the evidence presented during the inspection I consider AWE to have adequately implemented the claims made within the facility safety case that relate to the ATC gloveboxes and their supporting Systems, Structures or Components (SSC). It is recognised that the AWE is in a period of transition between safety cases following the ATC Periodic Review of Safety (PSR)2. It was confirmed during the inspection that a sample of shortfalls in the extant facility safety case would be closed out through the PRS2 uplift. This provided confidence that the safety case is being kept up to date so that it continuously meets the needs of its users in accordance with ONR SAP SC.7.

The requirement for a safety related improvement was identified during the inspection in relation to LC28, specifically the control and management of timely EIMT. This is a wider facility issue not unique to the glovebox system which will be managed through a Level 3 regulatory issue (7424).

A further regulatory issue was raised in relation to LC10 at Level 4 to drive improvements in the formalisation and control of facility operational training. Issue 7412 is intended to co-ordinate future regulatory oversight on this topic.

Discussions with facility staff identified a number of areas of good practice within this inspection, notably within the provision of arrangements for the control and management of waste nuclear material following glovebox machining operations. The staff demonstrated an adequate understanding of the process steps and limits and conditions of operation required to maintain nuclear safety.

Conclusion of Intervention

Based on the evidence sampled during the inspection the overall ratings for the targeted assessment areas are LC 10 – Green, LC 23 – Green, LC 24 – Green, LC 27 – Green, LC 28 – Amber, LC 34 - Green. Two regulatory issues were raised as a result of this inspection relating to LC10 and LC28 both of which, once satisfied, will influence improvement in the overall safety case. Furthermore I am of the opinion that ‘YES’ the system adequately fulfils the requirements of the safety case.