Office for Nuclear Regulation

Hartlepool Reactor 2 Graphite Core inspection arrangements during the 2019 Statutory Outage

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The purpose of this intervention was to undertake a Licence Condition (LC) 28 compliance inspection at EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Ltd’s (NGL’s) Hartlepool (HRA) power station.

This intervention is one of a number of LC28 compliance inspections performed by ONR during the periodic shutdown of HRA Reactor 2 (R2). These inspections inform the ONR’s decision on whether to issue a licence instrument granting consent for the return to service of HRA R2 following its 2019 statutory outage.

This intervention specifically focused on arrangements for graphite core examination, inspection and testing and the observations made during these periodic shutdown activities. I judged this intervention based on the findings of the intervention, the quality of the data I observed and the knowledge and experience of the licensee’s staff.

The objectives of this intervention were:

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I visited HRA on 23rd August 2019 to carry out a site intervention to inspect the work performed as part of the outage’s core inspection programme. For this inspection, I was accompanied by an ONR Principal Inspector and by another ONR Graphite Inspector. My inspection only covered the graphite core inspection activities carried out during the shutdown.

At the time of our visit, the graphite activities and the in-air inspections had just started. The New In-Core Inspection Equipment (NICIE2) and the Eddy current inspection tool were being deployed simultaneously on two different fuel channels.

This intervention report does not comment on the significance of those findings, which are being addressed by ONR in an assessment of that submission. ONR’s assessment will however take note of the findings of this intervention.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate


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

At the time of the site intervention, the Licensee had completed 6 channel inspections which included visual and bore measurements. The target requirement for this periodic shutdown is to carry out 20 bore fuel channel inspections of the bore and one control rod channel inspection. The bore of 10 fuel channels is also to be measured using the New In-Core Inspection Equipment 2 (NICIE2). However, trepanning had not yet started at the time of the intervention.

I interviewed a number of operators on site who were involved in the graphite core inspections during the periodic shutdown. The licensee personnel that I met at station was knowledgeable and the training records that I sampled were up-to-date. From the training records that I sampled, I consider that the personnel involved in undertaking the graphite core inspections have adequate training and experience to perform their various tasks.

Conclusion of Intervention

Following my intervention, I consider that the licensee’s arrangements with regards to graphite core inspection during this outage are suitable and adequate. In my opinion, the visual records and the data that I sampled were of adequate quality for NGL to form an accurate judgement and sentence the cracks.

At the time of my intervention, there was no reason to believe that the safety case requirements would not be met. A forthcoming assessment report will consider whether the results of the graphite core inspections are consistent with the graphite safety case, once the inspection schedule has been completed.

I have allocated an ONR rating of ‘Green’ – Adequate.