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IAEA publishes third peer review of UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)

22 April 2014

ONR has welcomed the issuing of a third peer review report into its regulatory framework and processes from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The final report identifies many areas of good practice and evidence of ONR’s implementation of international standards and highlights the considerable progress and improvements made by the office in the past few years.

The Sellafield site is the largest the ONR is responsible for
The Sellafield site is the largest the ONR is responsible for

The IAEA is the world’s centre of cooperation in the international nuclear safety field. The Agency works with member states and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

A team of expert senior nuclear regulators from across the world visited the UK in October 2013 to complete the last of a three part ‘modular’ mission, which demonstrates ONR has completed the full scope expected of these missions.

During the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission, the IAEA visited two UK licensed sites, considered ONR’s self-assessment and reviewed the progress made on findings from the previous missions held in 2009 and 2006.

The final report formally closes out all but one of the 32 existing findings, and ONR has accepted 25 new findings from the latest mission in full as an opportunity to further enhance the regulatory framework and processes.

Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for DECC said: “In the UK we have a well-established and robust nuclear safety regime, and I am pleased to see that the IAEA recognise the work the Office for Nuclear Regulation does to make sure we meet stringent safety standards. The IAEA’s findings set the bar high for ONR’s future work, as an independent public corporation.”

In addition Bill Borchardt, mission leader and former Executive Director of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission commented: “The staff of ONR are clearly dedicated to their mission and I am confident that ONR will use the results of the mission to further enhance their regulatory programs.”

In receiving the final report John Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer of ONR said: “I am absolutely delighted with the outcome and proud of the work we’ve done in this field. We have benefited significantly from these missions and also from our own self assessment in preparation for the visits. By addressing findings from previous missions, we have made changes to our organisational structure and have realised improvements to our operating processes which in turn have improved our regulatory effectiveness.”

The next formal IRRS mission for the UK is anticipated in 2019 to meet expectations to comply with in the European Union Nuclear Safety Directive.

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