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New licences granted for the Harwell and Winfrith sites

The Chief Nuclear Inspector, Andy Hall, has granted new nuclear site licences for the Harwell and Winfrith nuclear sites in Oxfordshire and Dorset respectively. These are the first licences granted by Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) since it became a public corporation in April 2014.

The new licences have been granted to Magnox Ltd, bringing the Harwell and Winfrith sites into the Magnox fleet. The sites had previously been licensed to Research Sites Restoration Limited (RSRL).

The need for the new licences arose following the transfer of ownership of both Magnox Ltd and RSRL by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to Cavendish Fluor Partnership Limited, the new “Parent Body Organisation” in September 2014.

Magnox Ltd’s application for the new licences, submitted in late November 2014, was the subject of comprehensive assessments by ONR.

ONR undertook the assessments in line with its published guidance, focusing on those areas where changes are taking place, and those which are judged to be important for nuclear safety.

With 12 sites now under the management of Magnox Ltd as a single licensee, Cavendish Fluor Partnership will be able, subject to a further organisational change, to carry out decommissioning and hazard reduction activities across the decommissioning sites using a programmatic approach, in which common decommissioning methods will be deployed at different sites. This should allow more efficient and safer decommissioning by utilising and improving learning from experience.

Following issue of the new licences, Magnox Ltd plans further organisational changes and the introduction of a unified management system across the sites, which will result in common arrangements for compliance with ONR’s licence conditions. These organisational changes and changes to the licensee’s licence condition compliance arrangements will be subject to appropriate assessment and oversight by ONR in future months.