Office for Nuclear Regulation

Sellafield – Inspection ID: 52390

Date(s) of inspection

  • December 2023

Executive summary

Aim of inspection

To undertake an unannounced LC11 and Life Fire Safety inspection at the Fuel Handling Plant and Site Ion Exchange Effluent Plant, and to seek assurance that operations undertaken at the facilities are safe and compliant with the nuclear site licence and relevant legislation. The inspection was justified in the ONR Spent Fuel Services Justification Document (2022/64238) and supports the ONR Sellafield, Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactor Operating Programme Plan (2022/47759).

Subject(s) of inspection

  • Fire (Life Safety) Compliance Inspection – Rating: Green
  • LC11 – Emergency arrangements – Rating: Green

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

I, the Site Inspector for Spent Fuel Services, supported by an Operational Inspector and a Life Fire Safety Inspector, and accompanied by an Internal Regulator from Sellafield Ltd, undertook an unannounced inspection at the Spent Fuel Services’ Fuel Handling Plant (FHP) and Site Ion Exchange Effluent Plant (SIXEP) at the Sellafield Site, outside of normal office hours. The inspection primarily focused on Licence Condition (LC) 11 (Emergency arrangements) and Life Fire Safety. I found that both plants were ready to respond to an emergency; the Incident Control Centre was operational, equipment was serviceable and written instructions were available. Minimum safe manning levels were exceeded and a sample of personnel undertaking emergency arrangements and general duties demonstrated they were trained and available within the facilities. In relation to LC11, one shortfall was observed with the electronic safe containing classified information to be used during some emergencies being inaccessible, but I am satisfied that the Incident Controller had alternative arrangements to access the required information if it was required during an inspection.

A life fire safety plant walkdown was undertaken with some shortfalls identified; these related to the storage of some waste close to ignition sources, alarms on fire alarm panels and some potential ambiguity in relation to the escape policy. There were also some good examples in the use of laydown areas at the facility. I am satisfied the shortfalls were not significant and can be managed by regulatory advice, and I will follow up on them with the facility. Overall, I am content to award Green ratings for LC11 and Life Fire Safety.


Having considered the evidence during this unannounced inspection, I am satisfied that SFS is meeting its obligations under LC11 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. There were some shortfalls identified, which I intend to manage with regulatory advice, and overall I am content to award Green ratings for LC11 and Life Fire Safety.