Office for Nuclear Regulation

Safety of the site and arrangements in place for Covid-19 arrangements

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic lockdown; the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s (ONR’s) Sellafield Strategy of planned compliance inspections had been postponed until the end of February 2021. Given the current operational status of a number of facilities on the Sellafield Ltd (SL) site, a series of inspections seeking facility and site based assurance have been undertaken from the start of February as these are considered urgent in the context of our regulation.  The purpose of these assurance inspections is to consider fundamental nuclear safety at the targeted operational facilities and on wider site arrangements.  The site visits will seek to gain assurance in relation to safe and compliant operations, oversight, facility and site resilience, contingency planning, Covid-19 compliance and impact on high hazard risk reduction activities.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

I carried out an on-site assurance inspection of the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo (MSSS), the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond (FGMSP) and the wider SL site on the 23rd and 24th March 2021. The inspections comprised discussions with SL staff and inspection of the facilities visited.

As part of the preparation for the delivery of this intervention, the following formal ONR guidance documentation was used:

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

This was not a system-based inspection and is therefore not applicable.

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

The inspection of MSSS and FGMSP reviewed the operational manning levels, oversight and supervision, access to subject matter experts, emergency arrangements, maintenance and Covid-19 arrangements on the Retrievals facilities. On the basis of the sample, assurance was gained that the facilities were continuing to operate safely under the current covid-19 arrangements.

The site wide inspection included visits to a number of buildings on the site, the Sellafield Fleet call and a meeting with the Duty Director. On the basis of the sample, assurance was gained that the SL site is continuing to operate safely, has sufficient resilience and has suitable Covid-19 arrangements in place.    

Conclusion of Intervention

I judged that there was an insufficiently sized sample of evidence to underpin an inspection rating against any licence condition. However, on the basis of information sampled during this visit, assurance was provided that MSSS and FGMSP were continuing to operate safely and sufficient assurance and confidence was gained in the Covid-19 arrangements in place on the SL site. No matters were identified that would require formal follow-up.