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IAEA visit for the annual review of safeguards implementation

The Office for Nuclear Regulation’s (ONR) safeguards international reporting regime is among the most comprehensive in the world, a global annual review has found.

ONR recently hosted a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the UK’s annual review of safeguards implementation.

This major engagement reviews the work ONR has undertaken as the State Regulatory Authority (SRA) for safeguards during the past 12 months in the delivery of statutory reports and facilitating IAEA missions to the UK.

The three-day review also featured bilateral and trilateral engagements with licensees Sellafield Ltd and Urenco. The IAEA delegation was led by Massimo Aparo, Deputy Director General and Head of IAEA’s Safeguards Department, who was joined by Marta Ferrari, IAEA Section Head for the UK and Gina Wong , UK Country Officer , and a senior IAEA safeguards inspector.

ONR were represented by Mark Foy, Chief Executive and Chief Nuclear Inspector, Paul Fyfe, Director of Civil Nuclear Security and Safeguards, Mahtab Khan, Safeguards Delivery Lead and Alan Homer, Safeguards Professional Lead.

The IAEA confirmed that the UK had met all its obligations against domestic targets and international reporting requirements which are among the most comprehensive reporting regimes in the world.

The agency described ONR’s ‘exceptional performance’ and praised the continued development of the Safeguards Information Management and Reporting System (SIMRS) including the development of virtual replacement correction principle, which is nearing implementation in its accounting system a great example. This was a technically complex challenge whilst maintaining business as usual delivery of all statutory reporting, which is the responsibility of ONR on behalf of the UK.

Mahtab Khan, Safeguards Delivery Lead, said “We have delivered all our statutory reporting and facilitation duties, and met all major milestones associated with domestic regulation of more than 140 dutyholders.

“This is testament to the dedication, professionalism and teamworking ethic within the safeguards’ subdivision.

“This strong positive feedback from the IAEA alongside independent international peers supports this.”

Mark Foy, added: “Since our exit from Euratom, our safeguards team has quickly built strong a capability and capacity, alongside demonstrating an excellent delivery record, despite many challenges, including Covid.

“I have been greatly encouraged by the professional and collaborative relationship between my team and the IAEA throughout the last three years, while we established safeguards under our new agreement.

“As always these meetings benefit all participants, openly sharing feedback with Deputy Director General Aparo and his team allows us to identify areas where we can improve further.”