Office for Nuclear Regulation

Sellafield – Inspection ID: 50326

Executive summary

Date(s) of inspection:

  • December 2022

Aim of inspection

In accordance with the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s (ONR’s) Sellafield Strategy, each year ONR performs a series of planned compliance inspections of selected licence conditions, targeted at those facilities with significant importance to nuclear safety. One such inspection was undertaken to assess the Low Active Effluent Management Group (LAEMG)’s implementation of Sellafield Limited’s corporate arrangements for Licence Condition (LC) 26 (Control and Supervision of Operations) on 6 December 2022.

Subject(s) of inspection

  • LC26 – Control and supervision of operations – Rating – Green

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

This inspection consists of observation of the LAEMG group level   Plant Operations Control Centre (POCC) daily meeting, discussions with Sellafield Ltd staff and review of records.

I attended the LAEMG group POCC which was delivered by the shift manager. I was content that the shift manager presented a good overview of the status of the plant and confirmed with the operations managers of the various facilities under LAEMG the resource availabilities including the Minimum Safety Manning Level (MSML) and tasks for the day. I noted that the nuclear safety dashboard (NSD) highlighted conditions and outages in colours. The POCC also covered fire safety and conventional safety.  I observed  healthy exchanges of questioning and challenging from the team. I noted that the shift manager provided a good summary highlighting top five priorities of the day. I consider the group POCC was delivered efficiently and effectively.

When on plant, I discussed the POCC for the local area  with the DAP of the Waste Packaging Encapsulation Plant (WPEP) and was reassured that the local POCC took place prior to the group POCC, which provided a route for escalating essential information from the local plant to the group level. I noted that the local POCC board was clearly marked with colour coded pins providing a clear indication of the plant status.

I discussed the setting to work process with the Safe System Controller (SSC) of the Effluent Plant Maintenance Facility (EPMF). I was content that the SSC had adequate understanding of the plant activities to ensure safe control of work. I sampled the handover log and plant status log which appeared to be in good order. I noted that the handover log clearly recorded essential plant information and provided a good prompt for handover checking, which I had not seen in other facilities. I consider it a good practice to have a document template for handover information.

I had discussions with three maintenance team leaders on their role in control and supervision of the three jobs which were completed in the morning, one of which was carried out by the contractor Cavendish Nuclear. I noted that although team leaders would verify the SQEPness of the maintainers if they were Sellafield employees, checking of training records of contractors was not necessarily required. I advised that for safety significant jobs, LAEMG might wish to consider sampling of the training records of the contractors to have the confidence that the work will be delivered by SQEP.

I sampled the training records for a DAP and a maintenance team leader and was content that both had completed the required training for their roles. I sampled the DAP assessment pack and was satisfied that the process was suitably challenging especially in testing understanding of the safety case and control and supervision.

I sampled the compliance records for the floc transfer from WPEP to the Engineered Drum Store (EDS) and was satisfied that the DAP had provided adequate control and supervision for the move.

I sampled the LAEMG control and supervision baseline document and noted that it was two years out of date. It appeared that the update omission was caused by the missing prompt from the  Management Safety Committee (MSC). Notwithstanding this, the document owner and the Head of Operations confirmed that it had not caused any safety concerns as the daily POCC confirms DAP availability and ensures that operations are only  conducted when the baseline is met.  I consider omission of this update to be a minor shortfall and advised LAEMG to consider better tracking of actions including review of the control and supervision baseline for the MSC.


On the basis of the evidence sampled at the time of the inspection, I judge that, on balance, LAEMG has adequately implemented Sellafield Limited’s arrangements for LC 26. Noting the ONR guidance on inspection ratings, it is my opinion that an inspection rating of Green (no formal action) is appropriate.