Office for Nuclear Regulation

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ONR welcomes IAEA report

16 April, 2014

ONR has welcomed the issuing of a third peer review report into its regulatory framework and processes from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The final report identifies many areas of good practice and evidence of ONR’s implementation of international standards. It highlights the considerable progress and improvements made by ONR and formally closes out all but one of the 32 existing findings. ONR accepts the 25 new findings from the latest mission in full as an opportunity to further enhance the regulatory framework and processes.

The IAEA is the world’s center of cooperation in the international nuclear safety field. The Agency works with Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

A team of expert senior nuclear regulators from across the world visited the UK in October 2013 to complete the last of a three part ‘modular’ mission, which demonstrates ONR has completed the full scope expected of these missions.

During the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission, the IAEA visited two UK licensed sites, considered ONR’s self-assessment and reviewed the progress made on findings from the previous missions held in 2009 and 2006.

Shortly after the mission Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for DECC said:

“In the UK we have a well-established and robust nuclear safety regime, and I am pleased to see that the IAEA recognise the work the Office for Nuclear Regulation does to make sure we meet stringent safety standards. The IAEA’s findings set the bar high for ONR’s future work, as an independent public corporation.”

In addition Bill Borchardt, mission leader and former Executive Director of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission commented:

“The staff of ONR are clearly dedicated to their mission and I am confident that ONR will use the results of the mission to further enhance their regulatory programs.”

In receiving the final report John Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer of ONR said:

“I am absolutely delighted with the outcome and proud of the work we’ve done in this field. We have benefited significantly from these missions and also from our own self assessment in preparation for the visits. By addressing findings from previous missions, we have made changes to our organisational structure and have realised improvements to our operating processes which in turn have improved our regulatory effectiveness.”

The next formal IRRS mission for the UK is anticipated in 2019 to meet expectations to comply with in the European Union Nuclear Safety Directive.

(Ends)

Notes to editors

  • The Office for Nuclear Regulation became a Public Corporation on 1 April 2014 under the Energy Act 2013. It independently regulates nuclear safety and security at 37 nuclear licensed sites in the UK, and the transport and the safe guarding of nuclear and radioactive materials.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has a mandate to establish global nuclear safety standards and through its missions assists member states to enhance the organisation and performance of national nuclear bodies. Peer reviews are not an inspection to determine compliance with international standards, but more of an objective comparison on national nuclear regulation with international good practice and guidelines. Further information can be found at www.iaea.org.
  • The 15 member review team comprised of senior regulatory experts from USA, Sweden, Canada, Hungary, Slovakia, France, the Netherlands and Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Cuba and Finland, as well as four IAEA staff.
  • In 2005, the UK Government invited the IAEA to review the UK nuclear safety regulatory framework and undertake a modular approach to the IRRS missions. A first review was conducted in 2006, followed by a second in 2009, findings of which are available on the ONR website.
  • More information about ONR can be found on its website www.onr.org.uk where you can sign up to our e-bulletin. Also follow us on Twitter @ONRpressoffice.
  • For any media enquiries contact: 0151 951 3385/4482. Email: onr@onr.gsi.gov.uk