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IRRS Mission to the UK announced at our industry conference

We were pleased to welcome over 85 delegates to our industry conference in May, themed “public safety – everyone’s responsibility”. With representatives from licensees, technical consultants and government, it was an opportunity to listen and learn, share our 2018/19 Plan and progress towards our 2020 strategic aims and beyond… and hear a government announcement.

In his keynote speech, Richard Harrington, Minister for Business and Industry, announced that the UK will host an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission next year. We are taking a lead role in hosting, co-ordinating and managing the mission, working with other regulators and government to present a coherent and accurate position of how we regulate in the UK.

Taking place in October 2019, the mission is a peer review service conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to enhance IAEA member states’ regulatory infrastructure for nuclear, radiation, radioactive waste and transport safety. It will bring together senior nuclear regulators from all over the world to review the effectiveness of our regulation and identify both areas of good practice and opportunities for improvement. This will be the fifth time an IRRS team of technical experts has visited the UK.

ONR industry conference: the highlights

As well as sharing the IRRS announcement, Richard Harrington commented on his respect for our independence, seeing ONR as “the bedrock of confidence in the nuclear industry”. He cited our world class reputation and highlighted our collaboration with the environment agencies across the Generic Design Assessment process as an example of best practice.

Nick Baldwin opened the conference by reflecting on his period as ONR Chair, followed by Mark Foy, who addressed delegates in his first ONR conference since being appointed our Chief Nuclear Inspector. Mark focused on the changing operating environment and the work we’re doing to keep pace with industry needs, keeping public safety as our top priority.

Our Chief Executive, Adriènne Kelbie, talked about how in a challenging operating environment strong, independent regulation has never been more important to public safety and, she explained our plans for the short, medium and long-term to ensure we are fit-for-the future.

Our new Enforcement Management Model, which better aligns to the nuclear industry needs, along with our Security Assessment Principles and Enabling Regulation guide, are intended to bring greater consistency and proportionality to our regulation.

We are building our capacity, capability, culture, and learning from each other too. In the last year we recruited 102 people and our new ONR Academy has doubled our learning capacity, underpinned by a strengthened HR team with full command of organisational development and recruitment, who are working alongside our professional leads.

Our WIRed project is a game changer for our knowledge management and business processes. We’ve developed an ambitious project scope so we can improve consistency across our regulatory activities, eliminate waste from within our processes, and support our inspectors in their development through collaboration and knowledge management.

We were pleased to share our progress in developing a UK State System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material (SSAC) at the conference. Our roundtable discussions gave attendees the chance to discuss key strategic issues for the industry - including supply chain management and workforce capability – sharing good practice, learning and evaluating the challenges ahead together.

We also welcomed Peter Prozesky, CEO of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) who gave us an external perspective and insight into the vital role that global peer review plays in enhancing safety standards, warning that with safety “to stand still is to go backwards”.  We look forward to the opportunity the IRRS mission will give us to make sure we are moving forward, keeping the public safe.

The feedback we received tells us the conference was dynamic, informative and showed a real willingness to listen, improve and work collaboratively. One delegate remarked: “I thought the conference was excellent and my reaction to the calibre of the individuals who presented, organised and represented ONR was a simple - Wow! I had not appreciated the transformation you had gone through as an organisation and I take my hat off to you. Great success story and more to follow. Job well done!”