Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Protecting society by securing safe nuclear operations

14 August, 2020

Mark Foy, Chief Nuclear InspectorMark Foy, Chief Nuclear Inspector

As Adriènne has said, COVID-19 has changed the way we work, but it has helped us adapt to new ways of working that might otherwise have taken much longer to implement.

Although inspectors are working at home wherever they can, we have continued to go to site (as key workers and with public health measures in place) to conduct urgent or essential regulatory business. Most recently, I visited Sellafield, with Paul Fyfe (our Director of Civil Nuclear Security and Safeguards), to find out more about progress on key projects, and explore the site’s current resilience levels.

Regulatory assessment work has continued as normal in recent months. Our specialist inspectors have been working hard to complete their assessment of the safety case submission provided by EDF NGL regarding the restart of Reactor 3 at Hunterston B. As soon as we have made our decision, we will announce it publicly.

We are now considering the recently received site licence application from NNB Generation Company (SZC) Ltd, to construct and operate two reactors at its Sizewell site in Suffolk.  Our team has already provided extensive advice and challenge to the company, setting out what our regulatory process requires as part of an application. The team will now spend several months assessing the application to establish if we have confidence that the company has sufficient organisational capacity to lead and manage safety effectively. You can find out more about how we regulate new build sites, and specifically Sizewell C on our website.

We have continued to enforce where and when necessary, with improvement notices issued to Rolls-Royce Submarines at its Derby site and to EDF Energy’s Heysham 1 reactor site in Lancashire.  We are also continuing with formal investigations into incidents at Heysham 2 and Sellafield and following up the collapse of a concrete batching silo at Hinkley Point C.

You will know from our new Corporate Plan that our preparatory work to deliver the UK State System of Accountancy for and the Control of Nuclear Materials, as well as ensuring dutyholders complete Security Assessment Principle complaint security plans continue to feature as top priorities for us. We are making good progress on both, and remain confident in our readiness to become the domestic safeguards regulator from January 2021.