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Chief Nuclear Inspector’s report published

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has presented its view of safety and security standards across the nuclear industry in its inaugural Chief Nuclear Inspector’s report.

The report considers licensed civil nuclear and defence sites, the transport of radioactive materials and emergency planning. It also presents ONR’s judgement of how the UK is meeting its international responsibilities on nuclear safeguards, lessons learned from Fukushima and the nation’s nuclear research portfolio.

For the first time in one report, ONR has prioritised licensed nuclear sites based on an assessment of the potential hazard, categorising them according to the regulatory attention they require.

Colin Patchett, ONR’s Acting Chief Nuclear Inspector, said: “The UK has one of the best nuclear safety and security records in the world. I am confident that the nuclear industry is controlling its hazards and has plans in place to continuously improve safety and security standards.

With this report, ONR is also offering its view of those sites requiring greater levels of regulatory priority. In our independent judgement, some legacy facilities at Sellafield require a significantly enhanced level of regulatory attention and we continue to engage with the licensee to ensure improvements are made.”

Reducing the hazard at Sellafield is ONR’s first priority; nearly a quarter of our full time inspectors work on ONR’s Sellafield programme, influencing improvements in a variety of areas.

Other sites requiring an enhanced level of regulatory attention are Dounreay and the defence sites at Devonport and AWE in Berkshire and the remainder of the nuclear facilities within the Sellafield estate. After these, ONR has given the remainder of the 37 licensed sites it regulates a routine level of attention, commensurate with the hazard of the site.

Publication of the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s report comes at a critical time for ONR as it prepares to make the transition to public corporation, subject to legislation. To complement this report, which ONR plans to publish annually, the regulator has published ‘Nuclear Regulation in the UK’, which provides an explanation of the nuclear regulatory regime.

ONR has more than 220 expert inspectors working across the nuclear estate conducting inspections; influencing improvements in areas like culture and leadership and undertaking a variety of enforcement activities where appropriate.

Alongside the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s report, ONR continues to publish hundreds of individual assessment reports on its website all of which explain our decisions as we progress to public corporation status.