Office for Nuclear Regulation

New safety culture model and measure developed for Great Britain’s nuclear industry

30 October, 2023

A new model and measure of safety culture, commissioned by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), has been made available for nuclear dutyholders in Great Britain to assess their organisational safety cultures and learn from others across the industry.

The Nuclear Industry Safety Culture Inventory (NISCI) can support licensees to proactively strengthen organisational safety culture, which has been shown to be critical in maintaining nuclear safety.

It was developed by the Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS), with input from the 17 organisations that operate or conduct operations on Great Britain’s 35 nuclear licensed sites.

ONR is committed to strengthening its regulation through engaging with academia, drawing on research, evidence and expertise.

Feedback from industry representatives was also incorporated to help tailor the NISCI to the requirements of its end users within Great Britain’s nuclear industry.

A report is now available to download on the ONR website, including analysis of responses from 3,480 workers representing 15 nuclear dutyholders that participated in a survey to validate the NISCI.

The report also demonstrates how the NISCI can predict safety performance based on an assessment covering six broad dimensions and 15 sub-dimensions of safety culture.

Figure 3 from the linked report, showing the dimensions and sub-dimensions of the NISCI

Nick Shaw, a principal nuclear safety inspector at ONR who is leading on this work, said: “The NISCI was recently presented at a Technical Meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) where it received complementary feedback on the scientific rigour underpinning its development.

“The NISCI builds upon the IAEA’s Harmonised Safety Culture Model, providing a validated measure with great practical use.

“This couldn’t have been achieved without the support of Great Britain’s nuclear industry dutyholders and I am grateful for their willingness to participate in this project.”

Donald Urquhart, ONR’s Executive Director of Regulation and Deputy Chief Nuclear Inspector, said: “The NISCI provides a great example of how ONR works collaboratively with academia and industry to support our mission of securing safe operations across the nuclear sector.

“This is particularly timely given the recent publication of our Chief Nuclear Inspector’s annual report on Great Britain’s nuclear industry.

“I wish to thank all those who contributed to the development of the NISCI, including the team at AMBS and our industry stakeholders.”

As the NISCI is applied throughout the industry, it will help support the maintenance and strengthening of safety culture and performance.

ONR is now working collaboratively with the industry to develop a software tool that will allow dutyholders to accurately measure their safety cultures, benchmark their results against those of other dutyholders and identify good practice and learning opportunities. This will be made available next year.

If you are interested in hearing more about the tool, please direct enquiries to

You can also view the video below to hear researcher Lina Siegl from AMBS talk about the NISCI and its development, or listen to Nick Shaw speak about safety culture on the FANR podcast.