Office for Nuclear Regulation

ONR research

ONR is the statutory safety regulator for GB nuclear sites, where we regulate activities prescribed in the Energy Act 2013.  The Act states that ONR has five purposes:

The Energy Act 2013 (section 88) enables ONR to carry out or commission research in connection with those purposes, and to publish the results if it considers it appropriate to do so.

ONR published its research strategy in September 2019, which states that it will use research to support its independent regulatory decision making. The main objective of the strategy is to ensure that ONR's inspectors will form their regulatory judgements confidently and effectively using sound, up to date scientific and technical information.

The strategy identifies three main drivers for ONR to carry out or commission research:

The Professional Leads for each of our specialisms regularly review their specialist areas and maintain a list of research proposals, these are listed in the ONR Regulatory Research Register.

To demonstrate that it is commissioning research in a proportionate and appropriate manner, ONR performs an internal evaluation of the effectiveness of research we commission.  In order to deliver the expectations of the Treasury guidance on Managing Public Money, ONR also confirms the effectiveness of some research via independent third party review.  Any research commissioned by ONR may be selected for independent third party review of its effectiveness.  This is more likely where that research might recommend changes of regulatory expectation or approach, or where expert opinion is divided. In these cases, gaining an independent review of the effectiveness of the research acts to strengthen our position.

Published research