Office for Nuclear Regulation

Harwell Licensed Site - Fire safety inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

This was a planned inspection of the Harwell licensed site, undertaken as part of the planned intervention strategy for the ONR Sellafield, Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste Division (SDFW).  The work was carried out in-line with the planned inspection programme contained in the Harwell Magnox Integrated Intervention Strategy (IIS).

The purpose of this inspection was to ensure that the Licensee was showing compliance with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The inspection focused on both the management of fire safety and the practical fire safety provision within selected areas and facilities across the Harwell site. My primary interest focused on the progress made relating to the HIBS project following the previous years’ fire safety inspection and a detailed look at the conditions within Hangar 10 from a fire safety perspective. I informed the licensee that this inspection would focus on the conditions that relate to normal operating activities:

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate


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

My overall impression was one of a licensee with a desire to develop the fire safety arrangements within its decommissioning operations across the Harwell site. My perspective is one of a licensee who understands the need to apply a robust and pragmatic approach to fire safety, ensuring that it is taken seriously and is given the due consideration it deserves. I am of the opinion that senior managers have identified fire as a significant risk at Harwell and those persons that work within it. Throughout the inspection I noted that all of those that I had contact with, demonstrated a suitable focus, support and attention to fire safety.

During both the walk-down and the meetings held during the day I identified a number of examples of fire safety related good practice. A number of areas for improvement along with recommendations aimed at further enhancing the standards of fire safety will be followed up with the licensee’s Fire Safety Coordinator.

My inspection has provided me with the confidence that the fire safety arrangements are currently effective with an understanding that a series of improvements will be addressed.

Conclusion of Intervention

I concluded with an assessment of compliance with the legislation, and presented deficiencies and recognised areas of good practice at a debrief meeting immediately following the inspection.

Overall my findings in relation to the areas I inspected, demonstrated a level of fire safety provision and management which are adequate.  Those responsible for fire safety understand that in order for the fire safety strategy that is in place within the numerous facilities at Harwell to achieve its goal, it is necessary that all members of staff are aware of the strategy and the rationale behind it.