ONR News - 19 January 2023

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19 January 2023

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Welcome to ONR news

Katie Day

Hello everyone

Welcome to the latest edition of ONR News, keeping you updated about our work as the UK’s nuclear regulator for safety, security and safeguards.

It is hard to believe we are almost a month into 2023. The need for strong and independent nuclear regulation remains vital as the industry continues to change and evolve, meaning we have a busy regulatory programme for the year ahead. We are in the midst of our annual planning round, looking at how we meet the demands across our portfolio of new build and reactor design assessment, through to the current operating fleet and decommissioning. Our priorities for 2023/24 are taking shape, and you can expect to hear more in the spring.

In this newsletter, you'll read about a milestone step at Berkeley nuclear power station in Gloucestershire where work has begun to remove intermediate level radioactive waste from historic subterranean vaults, a significant achievement following years of planning and constructive dialogue between Magnox and ONR.

We're pleased to publish the new Terms of Reference for a Memorandum of Cooperation between us and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on advanced nuclear technologies. This bilateral agreement between our two organisations provides a framework for the sharing of information, experience and good practice to enable both parties to learn from and train each other on technical regulatory issues.

And with the beginning of a new year comes the starting point of our next annual stakeholder survey, to ensure we understand your views to help us continue to regulate effectively to protect workers and the public.

Soon, we'll be inviting more than 1,350 stakeholders from more than 175 organisations to share your views about ONR with us, so do look out for an email from us, which should arrive from Savanta ComRes in the middle of February.

And to end with some personal news, I'm sorry to say this is my last introduction for ONR News. After five years leading ONR’s Policy and Communications Directorate, I am off to pastures new next week. I have been proud to work with so many of our stakeholders - including government, other regulators, international partners, local communities and the ONR NGO Forum - because sharing and understanding diverse views is essential to inform our work. Many thanks for your support, kindness and engagement over the years.

My successor is currently being recruited and in the meantime, our Deputy Chief Executive, Sarah High, will step in to introduce ONR News next time.

As always, if you have any comments about ONR, any of the topics included in this newsletter, or our work in general, please get in touch via contact@onr.gov.uk

Best wishes

Katie Day
Policy and Communications Director

Decommissioning milestone at Berkeley power station


Intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW) is now being moved from underground vaults into concrete boxes in a landmark step at Berkeley nuclear power station.

We will maintain regulatory oversight throughout the process of removing the waste to an interim storage facility on site, which is expected to take four to five years.

Find out more about this significant achievement for dealing with legacy waste at Berkeley

Advanced nuclear technology link-up between UK and Canada

Mark Foy signing CNSC MOU

We have now signed the Terms of Reference for our link-up with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) on reviewing Advanced Modular Reactor and Small Modular Reactor technologies.

The Memorandum of Cooperation benefits our future workings to facilitate joint technical reviews of these technologies to ensure mutual preparedness to review them effectively and efficiently.

Find out more about the newly-signed Terms of Reference and ratified arrangements between ourselves and the CNSC

Sellafield Ltd to be prosecuted after injury to worker

Sellafield (courtesy of Sellafield Ltd)

We have notified Sellafield Ltd that it will be prosecuted following an accident involving a worker who sustained serious injuries.

The employee fell from a ladder while carrying out repair work at a facility on the Cumbrian site in October 2021.

Find out more about the forthcoming health and safety prosecution

ONR delivers cyber security briefings to industry

Cyber security briefing attendees

We are delivering a series of cyber security briefings in boardrooms across the UK nuclear sector, focusing on the importance of having effective strategies in this area.

The first briefing was recently held at National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and covered how regulatory intelligence shows that many cyber security issues can be mitigated if an organisation’s leadership, governance and culture for cyber security are successfully driven at board level.

Find out more about our cyber security strategy briefings

News in brief

ONR’s safety mission to Bangladesh

IRRS mission team photograph

Our Chief Executive and Chief Nuclear Inspector, Mark Foy, led an integrated regulatory review mission (IRRS) to Bangladesh in December.

Mark was joined in Asia by other nuclear safety experts from across the world to review Bangladesh’s regulatory framework against the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safety standards.

While in Bangladesh the team visited different nuclear sites across the country including the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project site at Ishwardi, located 200km west of the capital Dhaka. When complete, it will be the country’s first operating nuclear reactor.

Mark said: “As a country with ambitions for a significant nuclear power programme, it is important that the government of Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority work together to deliver the improvements required."

Openness and transparency consultation responses reviewed

Opennes and transparent policy document

We are now reviewing the responses from the consultation on our new policy for openness and transparency with interested stakeholders and the public.

We've sought to be open and transparent in the development of this policy through engagement with our stakeholders, and with our staff to ensure it has been informed by their views.

Katie Day, our Director of Policy and Communications, said: “We would like to thank everybody who responded to the consultation which closed on 16 December 2022.

“We intend to publish the final version of the policy in spring 2023 along with a consultation response.”