Office for Nuclear Regulation

Unannounced Reactive Unplanned compliance inspection of LC26, Control and supervision of operations

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interactions with the Sellafield site licensee (Sellafield Limited, (SL)) against a strategy defined by the ONR Sellafield Sub Division. This was an intelligence informed, unannounced reactive unplanned inspection undertaken in accordance with ONR arrangements, in particular the ONR Compliance Inspection Guide (ONR-INSP-GD-059 Revision 6).

Purpose of Intervention

This unannounced licence condition inspection was carried out to determine the adequacy of THORP’s implementation of the SL corporate arrangements for compliance with licence condition (LC) 26 – Control and supervision of operations, at the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) at Sellafield.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I, the THORP and Oxide Fuel Storage Group (OFSG) Site Inspector, carried out an unannounced reactive unplanned licence condition compliance inspection against LC26, Control and supervision of operations on 26 July 2019; I was supported by an ONR SDFW Inspector throughout the inspection. The inspection comprised; observation of the Plant Operations Control Centre (POCC) meeting (shift brief),  a review of the Minimum Safe Manning Levels (MSML), a review of the emergency manning positions, reviewing a sample of handover logs and discussions with personnel to determine the adequacy of the control and supervision of operations.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

N/A as this was not a safety systems inspection.

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

In my opinion, personnel attending the POCC meeting were well prepared and the status of the facility was understood. Operators were observed to be using written instructions to undertake operations, and it was evident from handover logs that shift handovers were comprehensive. Duly Authorised Persons (DAPs) were visible in the Central Control Room and (on a sample basis) were able to demonstrate that they were qualified for their respective DAP roles. THORP was able to demonstrate that it had achieved MSML and I am of the opinion, that in the event of an emergency, operators were trained and available to fulfil their emergency response roles.

Although there were no significant shortfalls identified, I am of the opinion that in relation to the MSML, there are areas for improvement in how THORP demonstrates that this has been achieved and in how THORP’s shift management has adequate oversight of the MSML.

Conclusion of Intervention

On the basis of the evidence gathered during the inspection, I judge that an inspection rating of GREEN is warranted for LC26. To address my concerns in relation to MSML, I have raised a Level 4 regulatory issue, which I expect the Licensee to address.