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Review of regulation under Licence Condition 23

We have today published a report outlining the results of our review into how we regulate the current fleet of operational reactors under Licence Condition 23, which covers the requirement for operating limits and conditions necessary in the interests of safety. Part of Licence Condition 23 requires all licensees to gain approval from ONR of alterations or amendments to any approved limits and conditions.

The review was conducted as part of our enabling approach to regulation, which ensures that the nuclear industry is as safe as possible whilst removing unnecessary burdens and bureaucracy for both ONR and the operators. The requirement for the operator, EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Ltd, to gain approval from ONR for changes to all previously approved operating rules, irrespective of nuclear safety significance, created unnecessary work for both ONR and the operator.

The outcome of the review, which considered the application our of regulatory powers when operating rules are modified, determined that the continued use of our powers in this area is unnecessarily onerous. Therefore, we will in future only permission changes to operating rules which have the highest nuclear safety significance. This will allow our inspectors to focus their time on those issues which have an impact on nuclear safety and aligns our regulation of the existing and future operational reactor fleet with our approach to regulation across the wider nuclear industry.

Mark Foy, Programme Director for Operating Facilities said:

“ONR’s recently published strategic plan emphasised the importance of a modern, enabling regulatory approach, being open to new ways of working and pragmatic approaches. The changes proposed by this review align well with this philosophy, in that the same high standards of nuclear safety and level of regulatory oversight are retained whilst reducing unnecessary burdens on the operator. We continue to seek opportunities to apply this enabling philosophy, and this is a great example of our success so far.”