Office for Nuclear Regulation

Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston – Inspection ID: 52616

Date(s) of inspection

  • November 2023

Executive summary

Aim of inspection

To undertake a regulatory compliance inspection of the general fire precautions arrangements against all duties imposed by the Fire Safety Order 2005, (Articles 8 to 22), or by regulations made under Article 24, to ensure that the licensee is compliant in respect of the premises for the Main Production Facility, A2.1 & A82.

To gain assurance that the Licensee’s arrangements associated with all applicable articles are suitable and adequate, and that the licensee is working to those arrangements.

To assess progress against the actions placed upon the duty-holder by RI-7442.

Subject(s) of inspection

  • Fire (Life Safety) Compliance Inspection – Rating: Green
  • Fire Risk Assessments – Rating: Green
  • Fire Safety Strategies – Rating: Green
  • LC 11 – Emergency arrangements – Rating: Not rated
  • Regulatory Enforcement – Life Fire Safety – Rating: Green
  • Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Rating: Green

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

This inspection at the MPF on the Aldermaston Nuclear Licensed Site (ANLS) was undertaken as part of a programme of planned inspections for 2023/24.

The scope of the inspection was aligned to the ONR’s AWE Strategy, and was to judge the adequacy of AWE’s implementation of the general fire precautions arrangements against all duties imposed by the Fire Safety Order 2005, (Articles 8 to 22), or by regulations made under Article 24, to ensure that the licensee was compliant in respect of the premises.

The inspection was originally scheduled to cover 3 facilities, but due to an unplanned maintenance requirement of the ventilation systems in 2 facilities, access was restricted while work was being undertaken, and consequently the inspection was confined to the ground floor of the MPF and all of A2.1 only.

Based upon the evidence sampled at the time of the inspection specific to AWE’s general fire safety arrangements and associated statutory requirements of the Fire Safety Order 2005, ONR considers that:

  • The fire risk assessments provided in advance of the inspection for both facilities were found to be comprehensive and informative,
  • All records relating to testing and maintenance of the fire safety systems were found to be in line with requirements, and
  • In the areas inspected, general housekeeping and control of combustible materials was found to be suitable and adequate.

As the ONR Fire Safety Inspector assigned to the site, it is my judgement that the Licensee’s arrangements for compliance with the statutory requirements of the Fire Safety Order 2005 are adequate.

I therefore conclude that this inspection identified no matters that may impact significantly on nuclear safety and, noting the ONR guidance on inspection ratings, that an inspection rating of green (no formal action required) is merited for this Fire Safety inspection.

This judgement was communicated to, and accepted by the MPF facility manager at the wash up meeting.

Conclusion

AWE recognises the challenging context of some areas within these facilities, and are committed to managing the risks to life in these locations.

Throughout the inspection, all of those that we had contact with demonstrated a clear focus, support and attention to life fire safety requirements.

Overall, we were satisfied that the facility management teams continue to understand the requirements to ensure continued fire safety compliance at the site and are working to that objective.

The inspection team were satisfied that overall the duty-holders arrangements in relation to the statutory requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 are suitable and adequate, and that the duty holder is working to those arrangements, and have therefore rated the intervention green – No formal action.
This rating is in line with the established ONR guidance as follows:

  • “Relevant good practice generally met, or minor shortfalls identified, when compared with appropriate benchmarks.”
  • “No significant shortfalls identified in the delivery of safety, safeguards or security functions.”