Office for Nuclear Regulation

Capenhurst TMF Project - Tails Deconversion Plant (TDP) Final Readiness Inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The purpose of this inspection was to confirm the licensee’s and tenant’s (UUK and UCP) ability to safely conduct activities under the arrangements made to comply with Licence Condition 21 (Commissioning).  This was part of the activities needed to inform ONR’s formal agreement to commence active commissioning of the Tails Deconversion Plant (TDP) within the new Tails Management Facility (TMF).

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The by-product of uranium enrichment is depleted uranium hexafluoride, known as “Hex Tails”.  A new facility, the TMF, has been constructed on the Capenhurst site to convert tails created and stored on site to a chemical form more suitable for long-term storage.  The Tails Management Facility will be operated by Urenco ChemPlants Ltd (UCP), a tenant on the site owned by the parent company Urenco.

The purpose of this inspection was to examine whether the implementation of the licensee’s and the tenant’s arrangements are adequate to manage nuclear safety activities and in support of ONR’s decision agreeing to commencement of active commissioning of the TDP.

In addition to following up on the findings from the previous readiness inspection that took place on October 2019, ONR also carried out a targeted compliance inspection against relevant licence conditions to ensure the implementation of the safety case is adequate; these were: -

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

From the areas targeted and the evidence examined, ONR considers that UCP is adequately implementing the safety case claims that relate to the TDP.  A number of minor observations were made, and recommendations given to the licensee and tenant to enhance the implementation of their arrangements.  These matters will be monitored during routine regulatory engagement with the site.

Conclusion of Intervention

From the evidence examined during this inspection, it was judged that there were no matters that have a significant adverse impact on nuclear safety. The inspection findings were shared with UUK and UCP at the inspection feedback. ONR considers UCP adequately demonstrated ownership and implementation of the Tails Deconversion Plant safety case to ensure and maintain nuclear safety.

Overall the inspection confirmed that the implementation of the Tails Deconversion Plant safety case is adequate and no safety issues were identified that would preclude the commencement of active commissioning.