ONR has been commended by international experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) following an expert mission in November 2014.
ONR, in collaboration with the Department of Energy and Climate Change, requested the IAEA to carry out a progress review mission to the UK, following on from the series of Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) missions in 2006, 2009 and 2013. This was the first time a member state has requested assessment against findings within a year of a peer review mission, demonstrating the UK and ONR’s commitment to continuously improving its regulatory framework.
The mission was part of a special project to address the 26 findings that existed from the previous IRRS mission in October 2013, with the aim to review ONR’s progress. The team reviewed comprehensive evidence and met with several members of staff, to conclude that 21 out of 26 of the findings could be closed. Furthermore, all 12 findings relating specifically to radioactive waste and decommissioning were closed based on evidence or progress made and confidence of the full implementation.
The five remaining findings relate to longer term programmes of work, including findings on the ONR management system and the review of licence conditions. ONR received positive feedback on progress made to date and existing forward plans.
Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for DECC, said:
“Nuclear safety is a priority of Government. This independent report is an important milestone because it provides assurance to the public about the effectiveness of the ONR’s safety function as well as nuclear safety in the UK as we move towards a low-carbon, reliable and secure energy future.”
Mission leader Ingemar Lund of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, said:
“I would like to thank the UK Government and ONR for inviting us to carry out this expert mission. It is clear that since the 2013 IRRS mission, significant progress is visible at ONR, clearly demonstrated by the closure of so many of the findings.”
On receiving the final report, ONR Chief Nuclear Inspector Dr Andy Hall, said:
“I am delighted with the outcome of the Expert Mission and independent confirmation of the progress we have made in addressing the outstanding findings. This is a key achievement for ONR in its first year as a public corporation and demonstrates our commitment to continuously improve and enhance our regulatory effectiveness.”
The next formal IRRS mission for the UK is expected in 2019 to meet expectations to comply with the European Union Nuclear Safety Directive.