ONR News - 14 March 2023

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14 March 2023

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Welcome to ONR news

Sarah High

Hello everyone

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

The nuclear landscape and our operating environment continue to change and evolve, requiring us to work more collaboratively and with greater flexibility to adapt to new opportunities and challenges.

Becoming ever more efficient and effective is essential and, as we finalise our priorities for 2023/24, we are also looking forward to our 2025-30 Strategy, focusing on how we can be more productive and resilient in the years ahead.

As the government’s ambition for new nuclear has grown, so too has the public’s awareness of the industry and this reinforces the heart of our mission to protect society by securing safe nuclear operations.

In this newsletter, you'll read about a prosecution of Sellafield Ltd following the fall of a worker on site while carrying out repair work on a leaking pipeline. The maintenance fitter sustained serious injuries and our subsequent investigation revealed a series of failings by the company. We welcome Sellafield's prompt guilty plea and reaffirm our commitment to hold the industry to account, when necessary.

The recent three-day visit to the UK by French regulators, Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN), was a great chance to further our relations with international counterparts. The bilateral event led to a mutual agreement to extend our current arrangement for cooperation for another five years to work together in harmony and collaboration.

We also acknowledge the recent EDF announcement to extend the end of generation dates at Hartlepool and Heysham plants beyond the current forecast of March 2024. Any extension to the operating life of a nuclear power station would need to be supported by robust safety cases, produced by the dutyholder, which we would then assess.

In other important news for the industry, we have now launched a new dutyholder portal to streamline the reporting of incidents, allowing licensees to submit incident notification forms (INF1s) directly into our database more efficiently and deliver relevant documents and follow-up reports (FURs).

We anticipate this updated process will allow for better internal governance and streamline the reporting protocol, ultimately bringing industry improvements. Please familiarise yourselves with this revamped system and how it can work to benefit you and your work.

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

Sarah High
Deputy Chief Executive

Sellafield Ltd fined after worker scaffolding ladder fall

Sellafield prosecution evidence - ladder and scaffolding

Sellafield Ltd has been fined £400,000 after admitting a health and safety breach that resulted in a worker sustaining serious back injuries when he fell from a scaffolding ladder at the nuclear site.

We prepared a prosecution following the accident which happened at the Magnox Reprocessing Facility at the Cumbrian site.

Find out more about the prosecution

Heysham 1 and Hartlepool operating life extension  

Hartlepool site

We’re aware of EDF’s recent announcement of its intention to extend the operating life of Heysham 1 and Hartlepool power stations.

Although a plant life extension decision does not require formal regulatory assessment or approval by us, it is a requirement of the site licence that all operations are carried out under valid safety cases. These would be thoroughly assessed by our team of expert inspectors.

Find out more about the announcement and our role in regulating any proposed changes

UK and French bilateral yields strengthening of international relationships

ONR~ASN group photograph

We agreed to extend a mutually beneficial cooperation agreement with the French nuclear regulator Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN) during a successful bilateral meeting between the two countries.

The current ASN-ONR arrangement for cooperation and exchange of information expires in June 2023 and an extension has now been agreed to extend this for another five years.

Find out more about the agreement between ASN-ONR

ONR speaks at international nuclear decommissioning summit

Ian Phillips presenting

Ian Phillips, our Head of Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste, was a key speaker at an industry summit event held in London.  

Ian gave a presentation about the challenges of legacy plants which were historically designed with less of a focus on clean up and decommissioning compared with the more modern nuclear plants built in recent decades.

Find out more about Ian’s presentation at the conference

Twelve months of UK-France Women in Nuclear mentoring progress

UK-France mentoring group photograph

One year on from three of our inspectors starting out on the UK-France Women in Nuclear mentoring programme, they have now shared their reflections about the cross-Channel scheme.

Kate Hughes-Gill and Denise Varley were among those selected, and Denise said this week: "There’s a big wide nuclear world out there, and mentoring can play a key role in helping women in the nuclear sector reach their full potential.”

Find out more about the progress of our inspectors

News in brief

New enhanced incident reporting guidance

Generic email illustration

We’ve launched a new dutyholder portal to streamline the reporting of incidents.

The portal allows dutyholders to submit incident notification forms (INF1s) directly into our database and deliver relevant documents and follow-up reports (FURs).

It also enables dutyholders to view historical incidents and reports that have been submitted to us, as well as generate and export reports, enabling better internal governance.

The law requires site licensees to formally notify us of incidents in a systematic format, so we can perform our regulatory functions consistently. This process also allows us to collect information, such as Operating Experience (OPEX), to improve our effectiveness and efficiency to keep the nuclear sector safe and secure.

EDF and AWG Training Ltd comply with improvement notices


EDF and AWG Training Ltd have now complied with improvement notices served on them for health and safety shortfalls.

Three workers were injured during an exercise at Torness power station in Scotland in August 2022 when a hose and ground monitor became loose and struck the workers during firefighting equipment training.

There were no consequences for the public or the environment due to the incident. The training was being led by Berwickshire-based AWG Training Ltd at the site in East Lothian.

We conducted enquiries after being informed about the incident by EDF which resulted in the enforcement action.