The Office for Nuclear Regulation has today published its annual report highlighting its performance and key achievements for 2018/19.
We have continued to deliver our prime purpose of public safety, ensuring that dutyholders met the required standards of safety and security that society expects. We completed more than 750 inspections across 37 licensed sites, granting permission for 30 nuclear-related activities, serving nine improvement notices and instigating four prosecutions.
In addition to our core regulatory activity, we established a new UK State System of Accountancy for and Control of Nuclear Materials (UK SSAC) function in readiness for a departure from Euratom, developed new emergency planning guidance for rollout in 2019 and made good progress in implementing our security assessment principles.
We have worked flexibly to deliver effective regulation, responding to challenges throughout the nuclear lifecycle, including advising government on new nuclear technology and innovation, continuing our assessment of the UKHPR1000 design and regulating the construction of the Hinkley Point C power station. We issued our first nuclear site licence to an operational site in 15 years and we continue to regulate ageing reactors which has brought technical challenges such as graphite cracking. Good progress also continues to be made in hazard reduction and remediation of many long-standing hazards in the UK.
Our collaboration and co-operation internationally continues, maintaining our contribution to the global nuclear safety and security regime, influencing international standards and improving our own good practices. Later this year, we will welcome the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Integrated Regulatory Review Service team which will assess the adequacy of the UK’s legal and regulatory framework for nuclear and radiological safety.
We exceeded our recruitment target for 2018/19 for technical specialists and continued to invest in capability and capacity, refining our management structures and launching the ONR Academy, providing a one-stop development shop for all our staff. Furthermore, we welcomed the recognition for our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion by gaining accreditation to the National Equality Standard.
Our work to strengthen stakeholder engagement and enhance public confidence continued, maintaining strong relationships with NGOs and government, and demonstrating improvements through our second stakeholder survey.
We continued to modernise ONR, through development of our IT and development of our Well Informed Regulatory Decisions project which will transform the way we work by enhancing our consistency, knowledge sharing, access to data and remote working.
The end of the year saw the departure of our Chair Nick Baldwin, who held the post for eight years, leading ONR through its crucial transitional and development years. We welcomed our new Chair, Mark McAllister on 1 April 2019.
ONR Chief Executive Adriènne Kelbie said:
“Our priority continues to be the safety and security of the public and I’m pleased that we have delivered our purpose effectively, while maturing our ways of working.
“I’m immensely proud of our staff and their continuous dedication and pride in ONR’s work, enabling us to maintain high standards, deliver a demanding workload and make significant improvements throughout the year. With only one year of our 2015-20 strategy ahead, their talent and commitment instils great confidence in ONR’s future.”
Chief Nuclear Inspector Mark Foy said:
“Based on the evidence gathered by my regulatory teams, I am pleased to report my judgement that the majority of UK nuclear dutyholders have continued to achieve the high standards of safety and security that society expects, thereby protecting the workforce and public from harm.
“Where improvements are required, we continue to work closely with licensees under enhanced regulatory attention to ensure that they have plans in place to improve their performance and return to routine levels of regulatory attention in a timely manner, strengthening our own arrangements for measuring and reporting the effectiveness of our strategies to secure improvements.”