Office for Nuclear Regulation

Sellafield – Inspection ID: 22-038

  • Site: Sellafield
  • IR number: 22-038
  • Date: June 2022
  • LC numbers: 3

Executive summary

Purpose of Intervention

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) undertakes all its regulatory interactions with the Sellafield site licensee, Sellafield Limited, against a strategy defined by the ONR Sellafield, Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste (SDFW) Division. In accordance with this strategy a planned Corporate Licence Condition Intervention (CLCI), targeted at Sellafield Limited’s site‑wide corporate arrangements for compliance with Licence Condition 3 (LC3) “Control of property transactions” and their implementation, was carried out between 15-16 June 2022.

The objectives of this intervention were to determine the adequacy, judged against ONR’s expectations, of:

  • Sellafield Limited’s site-wide corporate arrangements made to comply with LC3.
  • The interfaces between Sellafield Limited’s site-wide corporate arrangements made to comply with LC3 and particularly relevant other Licence Conditions (LCs).
  • Experience and training of selected persons assigned responsibility under Sellafield Limited’s site-wide corporate arrangements to address the requirements of LC3.
  • Sellafield Limited’s organisational capability related to LC3.
  • Records [Licence Condition 6 (LC6) “Documents, records, authorities and certificates” refers] made to demonstrate compliance with LC3.
  • Sellafield Limited’s means of gaining internal assurance of compliance with LC3.
  • Implementation on a sampling basis of Sellafield Limited’s site-wide corporate arrangements to address the requirements of LC3 since 1 April 2017 (which is the date on which the extant nuclear site licence for the Sellafield site came into force).

This intervention only considered matters related to ONR’s nuclear safety purposes.

Interventions Carried Out by ONR

The intervention was carried out by the Sellafield Compliance, Intelligence and Enforcement (SCIE) Corporate Arrangements Inspector with support from: a Nuclear Site Licensing Specialist; a Nuclear Site Licensing Specialist / Nuclear Safety Equivalence; and, a Nuclear Inspector – Site Inspection.

The intervention comprised discussions with Sellafield Limited staff and reviews of a targeted sample of Sellafield Limited’s documentation. The scope and priorities of the intervention took into account intelligence gained from other ONR interventions.

ONR expectations relevant to the intervention included:

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 (SCIE Corporate Arrangements Inspector) considered that the engagement prior to and during the intervention allowed ONR to complete a meaningful CLCI of LC3. I considered that all the objectives of this intervention were met.

I identified the following areas of good practice relating to delivery of this overall intervention:

The Sellafield Limited Management System (SLMS) Topic Area 3.02 “Management of Contractors/ Leaseholders” team delivered the information requested prior to, during and after this intervention promptly which facilitated development of an evidence base to support this intervention.

  • The Management of Contractors/ Leaseholders team prepared well for the intervention, which was welcomed by ONR.
  • All discussions were open, honest and helpful.

On the basis of the evidence sampled before and during this intervention I identified the following areas of good practice:

  • The obligation on Superintending Officers to carry out an annual review of use of space on the nuclear licenced site provides added assurance that no contractor activities are taking place which would require a LC3 property transaction.
  • “Horizon scanning” to identify challenges posed by The Electronic Communications Code and establishing that the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 has primacy.
  • Extensive knowledge and experience of the Lead Operations Control Manager for the Site/ Chairman of the Property Transactions Committee interviewed.
  • A significant number of meaningful “in the line” assurance activities relating to LC3 have been undertaken.
  • The questions in Sellafield Limited’s “LC3 Initial Assessment” form and the activities of its LC3 Working Group provide an effective means to determine whether or not a LC3 property transaction is required.
  • The overall governance route for LC3.
  • The wider benefits of the recent creation of the Enterprise Superintending Officer organisation and the soon to be implemented Superintending Officer Competency Scheme include benefits relating to LC3.

On the basis of the evidence sampled before and during this intervention I identified the following items of regulatory advice. Sellafield Limited to consider:

  • Removing Sellafield Limited Practice (SLP) 3.02.101 from the LC3 compliance matrix since it does not relate to LC3.
  • Increasing the scope of the next annual review of use of space on the nuclear licensed site given: the number of new people involved; and, the COVID-19 break.
  • Providing additional guidance on how the duration of a legal agreement potentially impacts:
    • nuclear safety; and/or,
    • licensee control of the site.
  • Referencing SLP 4.07.06 in the LC3 compliance matrix and making any required modifications to this SLP to enable a more extensive range of flexible permissioning options to be used in relation to property transactions.

On the basis of the evidence sampled before and during this intervention, I identified the following regulatory finding, summarised as follows. Sellafield Limited to:

  • Capture within its LC3 arrangements the LC3(5) requirement not to transfer freehold or assign leasehold interest in the site or any part of the site without the consent of ONR.

Conclusion of Intervention

The Sellafield Limited personnel present at the hot debrief acknowledged and accepted the intervention outcomes.

On the basis of the evidence sampled I considered that an intervention rating of Green (No Formal Action) for LC3 was merited, having noted the guidance in ONR documentation.

One Level 4 (the lowest level) Regulatory Issue has been raised to monitor Sellafield Limited’s progress to address the regulatory finding identified during this intervention.