ONR News - 26 February 2019

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26 February 2019

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Welcome to the Spring issue of ONR News

Adriènne Kelbie

Engaging better with our stakeholders is essential to building public trust in how we regulate the nuclear industry – and helps us be a better regulator.

So thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in our stakeholder survey. We have maintained our high ratings in key areas – a huge proportion of you see us as trusted (85%), transparent (79%) and fair (83%). And in those areas of some concern – proportionality and consistency – we are already improving. Thank you again for your feedback.

The nuclear sector faces continued uncertainty in the midst of political, technical and social challenges, I’m proud of how the ONR team rolls up its sleeves and works with all our stakeholders to make the best possible progress. Read on to find out how.

Finally, I give sincere personal thanks to our outgoing Board chair, Nick Baldwin CBE. He steps down on 31 March 2019, having led our Board for eight years. He has guided our crucial transitional and development years and his leadership, good sense and good humour will be greatly missed.

Nick will be succeeded by Mark McAllister, who I’m looking forward to working with from April. He is excited about joining us and will be out and about, with my colleagues and me, to meet many of you in the Spring.

Adriènne Kelbie
Chief Executive

Our regulatory news


Our coverage of recent prosecutions in the last issue of ONR News generated a lot of interest and questions about how prosecution fits our approach to regulation.

We have a range of tools to influence improvements in safety and security and ensure compliance with the high standards required by law. These range from advice by inspectors to warnings, letters, notices, use of powers under the licence conditions and other nuclear safety and security legislation and, on occasion, instigating court proceedings. Our enforcement page provides more information about our policy and up-to-date details of enforcement action.

Proposed new build: key updates

Wylfa Newydd: We’ve largely stopped working on the Wylfa Newydd new build project in Anglesey, following Hitachi’s announcement in January that they were suspending work on the site. We had been assessing the site licence application submitted by Hitachi’s subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power in 2017.

Hinkley Point C: Shortly after we gave NNB GenCo permission to begin the concrete pour for the nuclear island at Hinkley Point C we ran a webinar about our current work and future permissioning milestones for the project.

Advanced Nuclear Technologies: We’re building our capability to regulate these new technologies, courtesy of a £5m grant from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Read more on the above stories

Regulating safeguards post Brexit

In January we held an ‘informative and reassuring’ event with operators and smallholders, who we’ve been working closely with on establishing a domestic safeguards regime, in preparation for the UK exiting Euratom.  Read more 

SSAC event word cloud

Magnox milestone

In a first for the UK nuclear industry, we’ve granted permission for the Bradwell site in Essex to enter ‘care and maintenance’, meaning the site has been put in a safe and secure state until final clearance in around 60 years.  Read more

Underwater innovation

At Sizewell A in Suffolk, we’ve been regulating an innovative operation to clear radioactive waste from spent fuel storage ponds.  Read more

Sizewell divers

External hazards planning

Many of the questions we get asked by the public are about how well prepared the nuclear industry is to deal with natural or man-made disasters or climate change.  Read more

Climate projections updated

The Met Office has just released an updated set of climate projections – UKCP18 – which we expect all GB nuclear licensed sites to take account of when assessing the impacts of climate change.  Read more

Building capability and capacity

ONR Academy - Training room in action

Academy achievements

Since we launched our ONR Academy we’ve doubled the number of people being trained and brought down costs through better technology and a ‘little, local and often’ philosophy.  Read more

Nuclear apprenticeships

We’ve just opened applications to our latest effort to plug the industry skills gap – the Nuclear Degree Apprenticeship Scheme. The five-year scheme includes placements in ONR and industry, and students earn a salary while working towards an honours degree in nuclear engineering.

Engaging with stakeholders

Stakeholder perceptions: the latest

Thanks to all the stakeholders who took part in our latest survey. Your feedback helps us shape our stakeholder engagement plans and tells us how you think we’re doing.

We were delighted to see some positive changes from our previous survey. More of you agree we’re proportionate and consistent in how we regulate, there’s greater confidence in our resource capability, and more stakeholders agree that we avoid unnecessary regulatory burdens. And there was an increase in confidence in us as an organisation, reflecting our efforts to keep getting better at what we do.