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ONR's strategy for regulating Sellafield

Sellafield is a large and complex site and is one of Europe's largest industrial complexes, managing more radioactive waste in one place than any other nuclear facility in the world. Effective regulation of the site’s high hazard and risk reduction (HH&RR) programmes is one of our top regulatory priorities.

Our 2020-25 strategy aims to build on earlier achievements and remains focused on stimulating, facilitating and expediting HH&RR across the site.

The strategy seeks to identify the barriers to successful delivery of safe and secure HH&RR, and the regulatory activities needed to help tackle them, whilst recognising the continuing need to apply proportionate regulatory oversight of conventional health and safety, nuclear safety, security and safeguards compliance across the site as a whole.

The 2020-25 strategy identifies three key outcomes:

  1. Accelerated hazard and risk reduction across the Sellafield site;
  2. Evidence-based confidence that the licensee is complying with its statutory obligations and that workers and the public are protected from the hazards of the site; and
  3. Stakeholder confidence that ONR's regulatory approach is appropriately targeted, risk-based, proportionate and effective.

In developing our strategy we identified eight strategic improvement themes which we consider to be the key enablers to successful realisation of the above outcomes

  1. Common priorities – targeting those projects which deliver the biggest benefit to HH&RR;
  2. Effective use of resources – understanding and optimising the allocation of resources to ensure alignment with delivery of the strategy;
  3. Removal of blockers and bureaucracy – removing unnecessary bureaucracy whilst maintaining adequate and proportionate safety and security;
  4. Removal of distraction and diversions – ensuring that the regulatory demands we place on Sellafield are proportionate and do not adversely distract or divert from the key priorities of HH&RR across the site;
  5. Incentives and disincentives – considering what drives Sellafield Ltd to achieve HH&RR;
  6. Fit-for-purpose solutions – challenging Sellafield Ltd to deliver fit for purpose solutions to shortfalls in safety and security to deliver HH&RR sooner;
  7. Balance of risk – providing the framework and approach needed to ensure that the balance of risk – in the context of the aims of this strategy – remains acceptable from both a regulatory and an operational point of view; and
  8. Communications – ensuring a coordinated and systematic approach across strategy partners to communications and stakeholder management activities.

Working with stakeholders

We recognise the importance of working with others and we’ll continue to work closely with the other ‘G6’ organisations (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Sellafield Ltd, Environment Agency and UK Government Investments) on strategic level matters and to agree common objectives that will enable the safe and secure acceleration of HH&RR across the site.