Office for Nuclear Regulation

Compliance inspection of Special Nuclear Materials for Licence Condition 26

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

In accordance with the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s (ONR’s) Sellafield Strategy, each year ONR performs a series of planned compliance inspections of selected licence conditions, targeted at those facilities with significant importance to nuclear safety. One such inspection was performed to assess the Special Nuclear Materials (SNM) Value Stream’s compliance with Sellafield Ltd’s (SL’s) corporate arrangements for Licence Condition 26 (LC 26) (Control and supervision of operations).

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

With ONR specialist support, I carried out this compliance inspection against LC 26.  Compliance with a number of other Licence Conditions (LCs) was sampled but was not rated as part of this inspection. These included LC 11 (Emergency arrangements).  In addition, SNM’s compliance with SL’s corporate arrangements for the restarting of facilities was inspected. Both the SNM North, SNM(N), and the SNM South, SNM(S), facilities were covered by the intervention.

The intervention commenced with a request for evidence and a question and answer telecom on 23 June. Also, on 9 July I remotely observed a facility Plant Operations Control Centre (POCC) daily telecom meeting. Then on the 14 and 15 July I inspected at site both SNM(N) and SNM(S). The site activities including inspecting the plant, observing Plant Operations Control Centre (POCC)  daily meetings, and talking to personnel and inspecting compliance evidence.  For the remote intervention aspects I was supported by an ONR Sellafield Compliance, Intelligence and Enforcement (SCIE) Corporate Inspector.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable as this was not a System Based Inspection.

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

From the inspection sample, I found that SNM has been appropriately maintaining a control and supervision baseline and that Duly Appointed Persons appointments were in date for their control and supervision roles. I judged the observed POCC daily meetings to be an effective means of communication and that they were undertaken in a systematic and methodical manner.  I considered that the nuclear safety dashboards were being appropriately maintained. I sampled a Conservative Decision Making (CDM) Record and judged it to be broadly in line with SL’s corporate arrangements.

From inspecting the relevant paperwork, questioning personnel and inspecting the facility I was satisfied that SNM were complying with the relevant corporate procedure for preparing to restart a Finishing Line. From interacting with the relevant SL Nuclear Intelligence & Independent Oversight (NI&IO) Inspector I considered that they had undertaken an appropriate readiness review of SNM’s restart preparations.  

With regard to LC 11, I saw evidence that drills are being undertaken. I was provided with assurance that the SNM emergency role holders training is in date, and that it is the intension to undertake the required number of shift exercises before April 21.

Conclusion of Intervention

I judged from the evidence sampled that SL has effectively implemented its arrangements for compliance with LC 26 for SNM and I have assigned an inspection rating of Green (no formal action) for compliance against this LC. I judged that in preparing to restart a SNM(N) Finishing Line SNM(N) were complying with their corporate arrangements for restarting facilities. 

For several LCs (including LC 11) I consider that the assurances received were sufficient to judge that there were no matters identified that would warrant formal follow-up. However, in line with ONR’s guidance for conducting interventions I judged it inappropriate to provide an inspection rating for compliance with SL’s corporate arrangements. This judgement was based on the amount of supporting evidence I had inspected.