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June 1, 2020

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Coronavirus: ONR obtains assurance that nuclear sites are adequately resourced to continue to operate safety

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) says it is continuing to obtain assurance that nuclear site licensees and other dutyholders are adequately resourced to continue to safely and securely carry out their activities. The ONR says it remains satisfied with industry’s response at this time and there has been no significant change to dutyholders’ safety and security resilience.

All licensed sites are required to determine minimum staffing levels necessary to ensure safe and secure operations and contingency arrangements in the event that these levels are not met. This condition is specifically designed to ensure that industry can adequately manage and control activities that could impact on nuclear safety and security under all foreseeable circumstances, including pandemics.

Social distancing at nuclear sites

ONR says it is:

  • Supporting national efforts to ensure that social distancing and shielding measures are being properly observed at licensed nuclear sites, and its regulatory focus includes assurance from site licensees that they are applying the public health measures introduced to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), where appropriate;
  • Expecting the UK’s nuclear industry to continue to make responsible and conservative decisions as it responds to the challenges of the pandemic, and are working closely with the industry to ensure that social distancing is being properly followed, in line with public health guidance;
  • Remaining in regular contact with licensed sites and dutyholders to gain assurance, as necessary. Should ONR identify instances where sites are failing to apply the relevant public health guidance, it will consider taking action in line with our Enforcement Policy Statement PDF.

ONR ways of working during COVID-19

ONR staff continue to work at home, primarily. A number of our inspectors can travel to site as key workers – and have already – to conduct urgent and essential regulatory business, in accordance with public health measures.

ONR says it has considered its priorities, deferred non-critical activities, and are carrying out as much of its work as possible via videoconference, phone and email.

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