Office for Nuclear Regulation

Sellafield – Inspection ID: 22-004

  • Site: Sellafield
  • IR number: 22-004
  • Date: April 2022
  • LC numbers: N/A

Executive summary

Purpose of intervention

An inspection of Building B*** in the Special Nuclear Materials (North) facilities at Sellafield Limited was undertaken as part of the planned Integrated Intervention Strategy (IIS) for the Sellafield, Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste Division (SDFW) of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

The purpose of this intervention was to inspect against compliance with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO).

This intervention focused on matters relating to life fire safety.

Interventions carried out by ONR

The intervention focused on both the management of fire safety and the practical fire safety provision within the selected facilities identified above.

  • I examined a series of documents prior to my arrival on site.
  • I used the relevant legislation relating to this inspection to focus on life fire safety, not nuclear fire safety issues.
  • I undertook a walk-down of a random selection of the areas of the buildings and paid particular attention to the practical application of the fire safety strategy.
  • During my inspection, I challenged those accompanying me, and others about procedures and approaches to the practical application of maintaining adequate fire safety provision.
  • I held discussions with relevant persons to assess the approach being taken to the management of fire safety and the testing and maintenance of the fire safety systems across this facility. I paid a particular focus to the Fire Alarm and Detection Systems and Fire Separation.
  • I questioned personnel to test effectiveness and knowledge of arrangements.

Explanation of judgement if safety system not judged to be adequate

Not applicable

Key findings, inspector’s opinions and reasons for judgements made

B*** is a facility currently undergoing considerable construction work primarily relating to several high importance issues which have been raised against the facility. The facility is an ageing building which originates from the 1950’s.

This facility faces several challenges relating to fire safety primarily based on its age, design, and use. The ability to physically change the design is limited and as such a significant emphasis is placed on the management of fire safety and the application of procedures designed to control the storage and build-up of waste materials.

The primary focus of this inspection was to discuss and challenge those responsible for the management and application of the fire safety strategy and confirm their understanding of their responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The facility has provided a detailed response to the findings of the intervention and has demonstrated a clear understanding of the direction they intend to take to enhance the existing fire protection measures. I am encouraged by the rigor and enthusiasm described in the response and have confidence that they are driving fire safety in the right direction. The facility has been fitted with a modern Fire Alarm and Detection System in recent years. This has offered a greater degree of resilience and strength to the fire strategy for this facility and will continue to play a significant part in the overall fire safety management plan.

Conclusion of intervention

Overall, I concluded that an inspection rating of GREEN was appropriate. I have issued regulatory advice appertaining to certain aspects of fire safety management and the control of both combustible and non-combustible materials / waste. A subsequent LC32 inspection has raised a Regulatory Issue (RI 10801) which will oversee the SNM (N) improvement plan for waste management. I was satisfied that those persons charged with the responsibility for managing the operation of these facilities have self-identified most of these areas for improvement and have an adequate understanding of the requirements relating to fire safety and are keen to address the shortfalls identified at the time of the intervention.