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ONR digital modernisation project achieves major milestone

A major milestone is on the horizon for the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s (ONR) ongoing digital modernisation programme with the forthcoming launch of a new dutyholder portal.

The portal will support greater transparency and simplify how ONR communicates with those that we regulate.

The UK's independent nuclear regulator has been working on its longstanding WIReD project (Well-Informed Regulatory Decisions) which is now entering some of its final stages.

WIReD is part of ONR's 2020-25 Strategy to become a more modern regulator, improving our ways of working and achieving an improved digital solution for our core business areas.

It acts as an information repository, replacing the need for numerous different databases, spreadsheets and paper-based processes, and instead provides a single digital platform to store regulatory information, together with modern search functionality to benefit all staff.

One key element of the WIReD journey will be achieved this summer when the new dutyholder portal goes live, allowing licensees to more easily monitor the progress of permissioning decisions and requests made to ONR.

This modern interface will give dutyholders the opportunity to be aligned with our inspection plans and increases the transparency of the progress of our work.

More digital elements and user functionality will be added to this portal during the next six months, up until December.

An external user steering group, consisting of key dutyholders within the UK nuclear sector, has been helping ONR develop and refine the portal within the last 12 months.

Linked to this new dutyholder portal is the List N portal, which deals with the regulation of Sensitive Nuclear Information (SNI) in the supply chain.

This software allows the industry to log licensees’ contracts with outside agencies and to share assurance information in a bid to hone record keeping and reduce bureaucracy.

It replaces the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's (NDA) online platform managing List N contractors and will allow ONR to hold and collect more information and evidence about them, their systems and facilities, to provide assurance in their processing of sensitive information.

This will be followed by the introduction of a new inspection process, planned for July.

Colin Tait, WIReD project director, said: "WIReD is ONR's most important strategic improvement project as we continue to modernise the organisation.

"It's a real investment in staff and shows how much we value all of them, as we target the use of the latest modern digital tooling to help us work more efficiently.

“We are striving to get data to the fingertips of our inspectors so they can see what’s really important and focus on what matters in our regulation of nuclear safety, security and safeguards.

"This milestone step and launch of a new dutyholder portal will simplify administration and help us work more consistently in regulatory decision-making."

Currently, WIReD is used only by ONR inspectors, but this summer's change will now crucially open it up to dutyholders within the industry.

The project is set to complete by the end of 2022, but the software underpinning WIReD has a ten-year design life, making it a true investment in ONR's future.

Future investment in this new technology will remain part of the ONR digital strategy from now to 2025 and beyond.