Office for Nuclear Regulation

Pile 1 waste route inspection, joint Environment Agency - ONR intervention

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all regulatory interaction with the Sellafield site licensee (Sellafield Limited, SL) against a strategy defined by the ONR Sellafield Sub Division. In accordance with that strategy, Licence Condition (LC) compliance inspections were carried out on B6 Diffuser Demolition project, as planned. 

The purpose of this inspection was for the ONR to determine the adequacy of implementation of the licensee’s arrangements for compliance with LC 32 (Accumulation of radioactive waste) and LC 34 (Leak and escape of radioactive material and radioactive waste). This was a planned follow-on inspection and was identified jointly with the Environment Agency (EA).

The intervention was focussed on the waste route of the B6 Diffuser Demolition project from the Pile Cap to final disposal at Calder Landfill Extension Segregated Area (CLESA).

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

On 16 August 2019, ONR and the EA carried out a planned one-day, joint inspection covering LC32, LC34 and against the EA Sellafield Core Inspection Plan.  The inspection comprised of discussions with SL staff, review of waste records and other documentation and a walk down of the route the waste takes from the Pile 1 workface to disposal at CLESA.  In carrying out this inspection, the following ONR guidance was used:

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

This was not a system based inspection, and therefore no judgement has been made of the adequacy of implementation of any part of the safety case.

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

  Sellafield are progressing well (and claim to be ahead of schedule) into the project to remove the Diffuser with 96 out of 157 blocks already cut and removed from the Pile. This is stage 1 of the project. SL has requested funding from the NDA to continue the demolition of the Pile down to the 36-40 metre height. This would result in the generation of another 111 blocks that would require disposal.

I judged that there was a good understanding by personnel of the concepts of waste management, at all levels inspected. Areas to note of good practice include the re-use of potential waste (i.e. plywood sheets and scaffold planks) which otherwise would have been disposed of.

From the evidence sampled, I consider that the licensee is compliant with its legal duties under LC32 and LC34.  Therefore, it is my opinion that an inspection rating of Green (no formal action) is merited against both licence conditions. No regulatory issues were raised. 

Conclusion of Intervention

From the evidence sampled during this inspection, I judge that there was sufficient evidence that the licensee’s formal arrangements for compliance with LC 32 and LC 34 are being implemented adequately. There were no regulatory findings of significance and no follow-up regulatory action is required.