Office for Nuclear Regulation

Urenco UK Ltd – Inspection ID: 22-010

  • Site: Urenco UK Ltd
  • IR number: 22-010
  • Date: April 2022
  • LC numbers: 32, 33, 35

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

This inspection was carried out at Urenco UK Ltd and incorporated aspects of its tenants Urenco Nuclear Stewardship and Urenco ChemPlants. It was a planned inspection identified on the 2021/22 inspection schedule. The scope of the inspection is aligned to the ONR Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste sub-division strategy and focussed on the effective management of radioactive waste.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

During this inspection, I examined the arrangements made under Licence Conditions (LCs): LC32 Accumulation of radioactive waste; LC33 Disposal of radioactive waste; and LC35 Decommissioning.

I sought to gain evidence that:

  • The licensee minimises waste accumulations on site from operations and decommissioning activities, and it adopts the established hierarchy for waste.
  • The site has an up-to-date Integrated Waste Strategy.
  • Effective radioactive waste management safety cases are in place.
  • The site has suitable decommissioning plans.

This inspection focused on compliance against LC32, LC33 and LC35. It comprised of discussions with staff, review of documents, plus an inspection of the facilities where decommissioning work is being undertaken, and indoor and outdoor areas where radioactive wastes are being stored.

The inspection was carried out in line with ONR’s Technical Inspection Guides (TIG), (Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) Compliance inspection – Technical inspection guides).

Explanation of Judgement if Safety System Not Judged to be Adequate

Not applicable as this was not a System Based Inspection.

Key Findings, Inspector’s Opinions and Reasons for Judgements Made

I found that the licensee, Urenco UK Ltd, and the tenants, Urenco Nuclear Stewardship and Urenco Chem Plants, were able to demonstrate adequate compliance through their procedures and written arrangements for LC32, LC 33 and LC 35.

The licensee and the tenants were able to provide a clear link between the local working instructions for LC 32 and the Urenco UK Ltd management arrangements for Capenhurst. 

A physical inspection of the arrangements as implemented by both licensee and tenants were deemed to be adequate.  The personnel interviewed were open, knowledgeable, and competent in their areas.  The physical walk-downs showed a high-level of management control over operations, and good housekeeping, access control and signage.

Urenco Nuclear Stewardship is the tenant contracted by the licensee Urenco UK to manage the majority of the radioactive wastes on site and have  radioactive waste management safety cases which were assessed as being adequate. I noted that work was underway on the “One Capenhurst” change project to rationalise and integrate common systems dealing with onsite generation, storage and disposal of wastes (including radioactive).

The licensee and the tenants were able to demonstrate that they minimise waste accumulations on site from operations and decommissioning activities, and they adopt the established hierarchy for waste based on defined disposal routes and waste acceptance criteria for disposal. The site also has an up-to-date Radioactive Waste Management Case and an Integrated Waste Strategy.

The tenants and licensee were able to answer questions from the ONR in a clear and coherent manner and demonstrated their ability of understanding of the site’s radioactive waste strategy.

Conclusion of Intervention

In my opinion, from the arrangements examined, the personnel interviewed, and the facilities inspected, the licensee’s arrangements for compliance with LC32, LC33 and LC35 were adequate, as was the licensee’s oversight of its tenants’ activities and compliance with these licence conditions. I did make some minor observations regarding the storage of waste on the rafts, but I have concluded that there are no matters that may impact significantly on nuclear safety.