Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Improvement Notice issued to Dounreay

2 December, 2014

ONR has served Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) with an Improvement Notice as a result of a fire at the sodium tank farm of the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) in October 2014.

The fire took place early hours of the morning on 7 October 2014 and has been widely publicised to local stakeholders by DSRL. No personnel were injured as a result of the fire, but the licensee confirmed that radioactivity may have been released, which was reported to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency who regulates radioactive discharges to the environment.

The fire was one of several incidents on site in the last few years, with similar contributory causes, and ONR has been working with DSRL to encourage improvements. However, the latest incident demonstrates that improvement initiatives have not been effective.

ONR Deputy Chief Inspector Richard Savage explained:

“The incident revealed several concerns, notably a poor compliance culture and unacceptable behaviours of personnel on site. We are looking for evidence of improvements to effective planning; control and monitoring that will prevent future incidents occurring, and protect the public during the decommissioning of the plant.”

DSRL are now required to make appropriate improvements to preventative and protective measures for the decommissioning of the sodium tank farm of PFR by 30 June 2015.