News from ONR - January 2018

Inspectors on site

January 2018

Happy 2018

Adriènne Kelbie

As a nuclear regulator, ONR works on behalf of the public, so I’m delighted to welcome you to this first-ever edition of ONR News.  A more modern and transparent overview of our work, I intend to represent the work of ONR staff who are committed to nuclear safety and security, and explain key developments that impact the way we work. 

This publication is intended to be of interest for you, so we will very much appreciate your feedback and suggestions for future editions

Adriènne Kelbie
CEO Office of Nuclear Regulation

The Office for Nuclear Regulation's mission is to provide efficient and effective regulation of the nuclear industry, holding it to account on behalf of the public.

What’s happening at ONR

Mark Foy

As we look forward to 2018 it is worth reflecting on some of our significant achievements in recent months and the changes we have seen at ONR as we continue to provide efficient and effective regulation of the nuclear industry, holding it to account on behalf of the public.

Firstly we bid a farewell to Richard Savage in the latter part of the year and it has been my pleasure to welcome Mark Foy as new Chief Nuclear Inspector. Mark has worked his way through the ranks at ONR following his career in industry and he has certainly hit the ground running in his first couple of months in post.

In terms of ONR’s board, our Chair, Nick Baldwin collected his CBE for services to industry and he has been joined by two new board members, Sarika Patel and Sir Simon Lister. Sarika has a background in the public and private sector business and technology industry and Sir Simon has a distinguished career in nuclear defence.

The two join at a key point in ONR’s journey. Three years after investiture, ONR’s role is evolving as Britain prepares to exit the European Union and develop its own civil nuclear safeguards regime.

In addition ONR is preparing for the new challenges ahead as the Government has announced funding for research and development in new advance modular technology as it seeks to ensure Britain can “keep the lights on” by committing to more nuclear power. ONR is responding by growing its workforce and up-skilling its staff with new technology to ensure we are in a position to regulate technological advancements across the industry and just last month we opened the doors to our very own training academy that will help provide value for money and improved access to training for all ONR staff.

Regulatory work

Pile Fuel Cladding Silo

In terms of our regulation, a major step forward in decommissioning work at Sellafield has taken place under our enhanced regulatory attention. The most significant of which is work to cut retrieval holes into the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo to allow historic nuclear waste previously to be removed for safe storage – a significant step in the decommissioning process. There has been much more happening at Sellafield that you can read about here.

In December, ONR and environmental regulators, approved the design of Hitachi-GE’s UK ABWR reactor, following the completion of an in-depth assessment. This means we are satisfied that the reactor meets regulatory expectations on safety and security at this stage of the process. This is a significant step in our regulation of the overall plan to construct this type of reactor in the UK. There are still more regulatory processes before the reactor can be built, but nevertheless this marks a significant milestone in the project.

Looking ahead to 2018, ONR will be launching a consultation on a new code of practice on regulations relating to emergency planning and response aspects of the Basic Safety Standards Directive and looking for more opportunities to engage the public in our regulation. I’ll keep you updated in future editions.

Listening to you

I would like to offer my personal thanks to all of you who took part in our first ever stakeholder survey, and in particular those who took the time to be interviewed by the researchers.

Understanding how we are regarded by you - our stakeholders - is really important as it demonstrates if we are delivering on our mission, if you understand our role and purpose and also if you think we are doing a good job as a regulator.

It also tells us where we might need to improve and so the feedback is vitally important to us. We have just received the headline report back from YouGov and will share the outcome with you in a future newsletter.

I’d also like to thank our community of NGOs for providing us with appropriate challenge and engaging with us in 2017. Engagement with the public and stakeholder groups is something ONR intends to focus on much more as we seek to demonstrate how we regulate the nuclear industry on behalf of the public.