Office for Nuclear Regulation

Winfrith LC14, LC15 and LC35 compliance inspection

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

This inspection was to confirm that Magnox Limited (ML) Winfrith Site is complying with various Licence Conditions (LC) identified below in accordance with the 2021/22 inspection plan and to confirm that the licensee is controlling its hazards and complying with its statutory obligations.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

This inspection was to confirm adequate implementation of arrangements made under the following Licence Conditions:

The inspection focused on the Magnox Limited Winfrith Site Active Liquid Effluent System (ALES) facility and consisted of meetings with the ML Safety Case Manager, ATO holder, Site Integration Manager, review of applicable safety case and decommissioning documentation and facility walk-down.

In addition I undertook follow-up enquiries into the circumstances surrounding an incident at the Dragon facility, that was previously notified to ONR under the licensee’s arrangements.

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

N/A

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

The licensee was able to demonstrate from the facilities inspected; and the staff interviewed during the inspection, that it complied with the requirements of LC 14.  The sample consisted of review of the ML arrangements and their implementation for the ALES facility. I noted that the licensee’s arrangements for LC14 did not fully align with the ONR Safety Assessment Principles with respect to design basis assessment and the requirement to demonstration that risks have been reduced so far is reasonably practicable. There is already ongoing dialogue between ONR and ML at the corporate level with regard to these arrangements and I have concluded for the ALES facility it is not proportionate to pursue regulatory action at a site level. I have therefore advised ML Winfrith to continue to engage with ONR at a corporate level to align ML arrangements S-259 and PRC 0064 with ONR SAPs.

From the evidence examined the licensee was able to demonstrate compliance with the arrangements for LC15 for Periodic Review.  Areas of improvement were identified and have been discussed with the licensee but it is my opinion arrangements have been followed and implemented on a proportionate basis for the ALES facility.

The licensee was able to demonstrate from the facilities inspected and the staff interviewed during the inspection, that it complied with the requirements of LC 35.  The sample consisted of review of the ML arrangements and their implementation for the ALES facility. I consider that the presented ALES decommissioning plans, programme and schedules were sufficient for this point in time and note that future modifications under LC22 arrangements will provide further information as applicable to the decommissioning task at hand. 

During the inspection it was noted that no deputy ATO Holder is currently appointed for the ALES facility as required under ML arrangements. I am content that ML currently has a recruitment programme underway, however I have expressed concerns over the length of time the post has been vacant and the time available before the current ATO holder intends to retire.  The ATO holder has key responsibilities with respect to safe operations on site, including responsibilities under the LC14, LC15, LC35 processes. It is therefore important that a SQEP is available to substitute for the ATO holder during periods of absence. I therefore consider it proportionate to raise a level 4 regulator issue to monitor the timely backfilling of the vacant post.

Conclusion of Intervention

Overall, I consider that the arrangements and their associated implementation for LC14, LC15 and LC35 for the areas inspected met with the required standards.  I did not identify any matter adversely affecting nuclear safety that required immediate regulatory action.