ONR News - 16 December 2021

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16 December 2021

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Welcome to ONR news

Katie Day

Hello everyone.

I hope you are keeping safe and well, as I welcome you to the latest edition of ONR News, sharing how our work is securing safe nuclear operations in Great Britain.

While responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic remains a challenge for us all, ONR is continuing to regulate effectively and remains satisfied with the industry’s response at this time.

With the government’s move to Plan B, our staff are working from home where possible, carefully balancing the need for on-site inspections and interventions to support effective regulation of safety, security and safeguards. And as we have done since the start of the pandemic, we’ll continue to adjust our arrangements as necessary to keep our staff safe and ensure organisational resilience.

In this news bulletin, we put the spotlight on the progress of Chief Nuclear Inspector Mark Foy's themed inspection, which this time focuses on ageing facilities to ensure the industry has continual programmes for managing plant and machinery as they get older and prepares well in advance of these inevitable changes.

Management of ageing facilities remains one of the key priorities in our CNI’s annual report on Great Britain’s nuclear industry, and you can find out how the themed inspection is progressing with visits now completed to sites including Sellafield Ltd, in Cumbria, and Devonport Royal Dockyard Ltd (DRDL) in Plymouth. We expect to publish our report on the themed inspection in the spring.

Also in this edition of ONR News, you’ll find our regulation during 2021 broken down into numbers, with figures to show the scale of our work, including inspections and enforcement, and other crucial regulatory activity which are central to delivering our mission to protect society.

Looking ahead to the New Year, it will be time for our independent stakeholder survey, when we welcome your insight and views as they help us to shape our regulation and our organisation. I look forward to hearing from you how we can enhance our areas of strength, as well as identify areas that may require further attention and improvement.

In the meantime, may I wish you a restful and happy festive season and best wishes for 2022.

Katie Day
Policy and Communications Director

Ageing facilities scrutiny nears completion in Chief Nuclear Inspector’s themed inspection

Sellafield aerial 2014 200x200

Five nuclear sites have been subject to a ‘themed’ inspection during the last 12 months focusing on the management of ageing facilities, beyond our normal, routine inspection programmes.

Instigated by our Chief Nuclear Inspector Mark Foy, it has looked at how the industry manages ageing plants and facilities to ensure the necessary standards of safety and security are maintained. 

Find out more about the 'themed' inspection

Hundreds of safety, security and safeguarding inspections carried out in 2021

We have carried out 857 inspections this year so far in our work to protect society by securing safe nuclear operations.

A variety of enforcement action was used to make sure that dutyholders took prompt action to comply with the law.

Find out more about our regulatory activity in 2021

saps, sizewell, sizewll b, inspector 200-200

'Bulk quantities' interpretation confirmed for Geological Disposal Facilities

GDF illustration

Our updated interpretation of ‘bulk quantities’ has now been confirmed for the storage and disposal of radioactive waste in the event of any future Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) being licensed by ONR.

Find out more about 'bulk quantities'

Prestigious security award nomination for Office for Nuclear Regulation's Callum

Callum Ross

One of our young employees was shortlisted at a prestigious awards ceremony in London hosted by the Security Institute last month.

Callum Ross was nominated from thousands of entries and impressively made it down to the last five contenders for the annual industry prize.

Find out more about this award

News in brief

Gender Pay Gap progress at ONR

We released our annual Gender Pay report in November which showed a positive step forward in shaping a diverse and inclusive ONR workforce.

Results revealed a small but positive decrease in the gender pay gap, dropping from 27.6% to 25.3% during the last 12 months.

Since we first reported on the subject in 2017, the gender pay gap has fallen by 7.64%.

Notable steps forward in the report include the make-up of our 11-strong Board, which now features five women, and there are currently 22% of women in senior leadership roles, up from 6% in 2016.

And we are nearing the government’s target of 40% of nuclear industry employees to be female by 2030 with 34% of our workforce female - a challenge set in the Nuclear Sector Deal.

Changes made to key ‘Licensing nuclear installations’ guidance

We have updated our ‘Licensing Nuclear Installations’ guidance following changes in law and new developments in the industry over the last two years.

The publication covers how we regulate the design, construction and operation of any nuclear installation in Great Britain for which a site licence is required.

Key changes include an annex on new technologies like Small Modular Reactors, updated guidance on our regulation of nuclear safeguards, and updated details for the Generic Design Assessment process.

Also newly featured in this report are changes to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority ownership model for its licensed sites and more in-depth discussion about The Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019.