Sellafield must improve asbestos management at Calder Hall

11 November 2014

The UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has served Sellafield Ltd with a notice to improve its arrangements for managing asbestos at Calder Hall.

The Improvement Notice was issued after an ONR inspection of Sellafield Ltd's arrangements for managing asbestos at a number of locations on the Sellafield site in Cumbria.

The inspection looked at the licensee's arrangements for identifying the location and condition of asbestos-containing materials and how Sellafield Ltd managed the risk presented to prevent harm to those working in affected buildings. ONR concluded that Sellafield Ltd must improve the asbestos management arrangements on site at the Calder Hall facility, which shut down in 2003 and is now undergoing decommissioning.

ONR says it is satisfied that the issue does not have an impact on nuclear safety and noted that Sellafield Ltd has already taken action to initiate improvements.

"The ONR improvement notice formalises an improvement programme we had already identified. There has been no asbestos exposure to personnel," Sellafield Ltd told Nuclear Engineering International.

"The improvement activities are required to ensure that we have adequate asbestos management plans in place which recognise the significance of the legacy asbestos inventory and are aligned to the Calder decommissioning programme. We have already started work to address these improvements to strengthen our arrangements for future management of asbestos at Calder."

Sellafield Ltd said that more than 95% of bulk asbestos has been safely removed from Calder Hall. Just over four years ago the company completed one of Europe's largest asbestos removal projects, removing 2300 tonnes of asbestos cladding from heat exchangers, turbine halls and associated plant.

"We have confidence in our ability to manage this substance safely and effectively and will continue to share with ONR the progress we are making," Sellafield said.

Photo: Removal of ducts at Calder Hall, Sellafield (Credit: Sellafield Ltd)

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