Office for Nuclear Regulation

ONR welcomes ARPANSA on visit to the UK

27 November, 2023

Dr Gillian Hirth, Ryan Hemsley and Francesca Wigney with Mike Redmond and Kay Collier from ONR

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) this week hosted a delegation from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) during their visit to the UK.

Dr Gillian Hirth, ARPANSA Chief Executive, Ryan Hemsley, Principal Advisor and Francesca Wigney, Technical Advisor, all from the Australian regulator, were welcomed to Bootle to hear more about how we regulate, with discussions focused on safety and security standards, workforce training, and emergency preparedness and response.

The visit aimed to bolster ARPANSA’s understanding of how ONR regulates the UK nuclear sector, engages with industry licensees, and where necessary, implements enforcement action to influence proportionate improvements.

Earlier this year at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference in Vienna, ARPANSA and ONR signed an Information Exchange Agreement (IEA) to share information, experience and good practice.

This week’s three-day visit is part of that commitment towards increased two-way regulatory cooperation and collaboration.

Donald Urquhart, ONR’s Executive Director of Regulation, said: “We were delighted to welcome ARPANSA to Bootle for this valuable opportunity to share learning, ultimately helping to enhance nuclear and radiation safety between our respective nations.”

Dr Gillian Hirth, ARPANSA’s CEO, said: “This visit allowed us to further build on our relationship with ONR to share information on our regulatory experiences and discuss strategies for workforce and nuclear knowledge development.

“These discussions provided a demonstration of the UK’s nuclear regulation in action, providing critical knowledge to support the highest standards of safety in Australia’s changing nuclear landscape.”

During the visit, ARPANSA delegates visited the ONR Academy Training Room and the Redgrave Court Incident Suite.

Delegates heard from academy trainers about recruitment practices and inspector training which helps to maintain high standards of nuclear safety, security and safeguards.

Presentations covered the warranting process for ONR inspectors and the various routes into the workforce through our Initial Professional Development Programme (IPDP), including our Nuclear Graduates and degree apprentice programmes.

More than 10% of the ONR workforce has been through the IPDP programme – leading to discussions about possible reciprocal training opportunities between the two organisations.

Kay Collier, Head of the ONR Academy, said: “We are proud of ONR’s training opportunities for our inspectors and of our industry-leading graduate and apprenticeship programmes, bringing new talent into the nuclear sector and ensuring safety and security remains a priority both now and in the future.

Mike Redmond, ONR’s Delivery Lead for Emergency Preparedness & Response said: “Emergency preparedness and response is a key part of our role as the nuclear regulator.

“Our conversations with ARPANSA this week have covered the arrangements we have in this area, with different agencies including operators of nuclear installations, local authorities, government departments and other stakeholders. Of particular interest was our role as the regulator for Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019 (REPPIR 19).”

Donald added: “Following the signing of our information sharing agreement with ARPANSA in September we look forward to continuing our work with the international nuclear community.”