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Chief Nuclear Inspector’s annual report on Great Britain’s nuclear industry

Chief Nuclear Inspector (CNI) Mark Foy has today published his annual report detailing the performance of Great Britain's nuclear industry during 2019/20.

As the regulatory head at the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) the CNI reports he is satisfied that overall the nuclear industry has continued to meet the high standards of safety and security required to protect workers and the public.

In areas where dutyholders have fallen short of these standards, the CNI is satisfied that these facilities remain safe and that ONR has intervened in a proportionate manner to ensure plans are in place to improve performance.

The second report of its kind, the annual review provides ONR’s independent view of safety, security and safeguards performance across the nuclear industry between April 2019 to March 2020.

This year’s report details positive achievements in several areas including: EDF continuing to operate its power stations as a mature and responsible licensee despite challenges associated with an ageing fleet; positive early engagement between ONR and Devonport Royal Dockyard on preparatory work for a ‘fit for purpose’ docking solution for deep maintenance of Astute class submarines; the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) progressing well with asset improvements including safety upgrades to key plant at both Aldermaston and Burghfield; ongoing safe and secure progress with hazard and risk reduction at Sellafield; safe de-fuelling of the two Magnox reactors at the decommissioning Wylfa power station; and ongoing safe and secure construction at Hinkley Point C.

The CNI has challenged industry to maintain increased attention on three overarching themes introduced in last year’s report, and to continue to work collaboratively to address common challenges. The three themes are: management of ageing facilities; conventional health and safety performance; and the need for industry to deliver a holistic approach to nuclear security.

While the report highlights notable progress across all three themes during 2019/20, continued focus is required from industry in the years ahead.

The report also details how the industry responded well to the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting the depth and maturity of the sector’s preparedness and response arrangements.

To encourage continuous improvement in this area, the CNI will commission a review by industry to ensure all lessons are learnt and consider how arrangements can be further strengthened in the future. This challenge is captured in a new strategic theme - ensuring adequate pandemic resilience - which will remain a focus into 2021.

Chief Nuclear Inspector, Mark Foy

Mark Foy said: “I am fortunate to lead a dedicated and professional regulatory team that is focused on effectively delivering our core regulatory purpose while influencing proportionate improvements.

“The extensive range of interventions that we have completed during the year has provided us with a thorough understanding of the nuclear industry, and I remain satisfied that overall it has continued to meet the requisite high standards of safety and security necessary to ensure the continued protection of society.

“Last year’s inaugural report identified three challenges for the industry to focus its attention
on. The latest report highlights some of the tangible progress made to date, whilst emphasising the need for sustained investment in people, plant and processes.

“We have also introduced a new theme relating to COVID-19 – recognising how industry responded well to the pandemic while seeking to ensure that any lessons are captured to further enhance resilience in the future.”

The report also features details and analysis of safety events reported by dutyholders between April 2019 and March 2020, as well as ONR's annual Research Statement.