Nuclear Decommissioning: Programme

Monday 16 October 2017, Hilton Manchester Airport

09:15 Welcome

09:20 Human Factors in Decommissioning Safety Cases – managing a changing safety environment
Jon Berman, Greenstreet Berman Ltd

The purpose of a Safety Case is to demonstrate that risks are understood and suitably controlled. Within operating facilities, this is about remaining within a safe operating envelope, and maintaining risk at appropriate levels. Decommissioning presents a set of new challenges. In particular, the risk profile associated with decommissioning activities will change significantly as the activity progresses – radiological risk will ultimately decrease, but the hazards may increase at times during the programme. Consequently there is a real challenge associated with devising and maintaining a management system that is responsive not only to the changes in risk, but also to the perceptions driven by those changes and the emergent workforce behaviours. Whilst there will be a need for HF input into the design of novel tasks, there will also be a need for HF input to the design of the management arrangements.

This presentation explores current good practice concerning Leadership and Management for Safety in the context of the peculiar challenges arising from decommissioning. It will discuss how HF can contribute to the development and delivery of a management system that is responsive to the demands of a decommissioning safety case, such as by focussing on perceptions of risk, the implications for competence management, safety decision-making and learning. It  reflects on the challenges this presents for HF. Whereas safe decommissioning may often be perceived as a technical challenge, it may in practice be as much an HF issue due to the need to control behaviours in a novel and changing environment.

09:50 Appropriate human factors input to decommissioning safety case
Bob Hawkrigg, Cavendish Nuclear

Decommissioning safety cases have up until now been over-pessimistic in their approach, and are often seen as hindering rather than helping progress.  Terms like ‘overblown’ and ‘shelf-ware’ have often been applied. In short, a safety case is an argument, supported by a body of evidence, that something can be done adequately safely. A safety case might cover anything from a single activity to the operations of a whole facility or site.

Major advances have been made in the Decommissioning Safety Case process within Magnox over the last two years, addressing key concerns, and resulting in truly proportionate cases. The presentation will outline the main changes in approach implemented and how those impact on the requirements for inputs from Human Factors experts, together with some illustration of the benefits obtained to date.

10:20 Break & networking

10:50 Sellafield: a site under change
Jonathan Pyke, Sellafield Ltd

11:20 Paint it black: End-to-end human factors in design and delivery for Sizewell B dry fuel store
Rob Cotterill, EDF Nuclear Generation

Decommissioning starts with defuelling. But removing the fuel from the reactors is only the start of the process: fuel must be cooled, inspected for damage, sentenced and moved on, before more fuel can be removed.  At Sizewell B (SZB), all spent fuel has been stored in the fuel building pond, with the original intention of Deep Geological Disposal. This is unlikely to be achieved before the end of station life, so an interim solution – dry storage – has been adopted.

The adopted system is proven technology in the USA, but in order to meet UK regulatory requirements it needed to undergo a degree of redesign and safety analysis, for everything from corrosion to human reliability, starting from initial fuel movements to throughout a possible 100 year lifespan.  This paper discusses the human factors that were considered in justifying that spent fuel could be safely moved, dried and stored for up to 100 years.

11:50 Decommissioning Dounreay – Challenges for human factors
Christian Wilhelm, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd

The Dounreay nuclear site began construction in 1955 and served as the centre of the British fast reactor research programme until its third and final reactor, PFR, was shut down in 1994. This marked the end of the British fast reactor programme and the beginning of a complex and challenging decommissioning project.

Like many ageing nuclear facilities, the original design of the reactors and associated plants at Dounreay did not consider the decommissioning process. Consequently their dismantling often requires innovative engineering techniques which can place novel demands on operators. Through detailed understanding of how human limitations and characteristics interact with these decommissioning tasks, human factors can (and does) play a key role in the support of safe decommissioning.

Working in a complex environment such as the Dounreay site, the HF team is required to understand details of a project in a relatively short time. Understanding complex plants and the potential impact of human interaction can be difficult and design engineers and project managers don’t always know what information is relevant for HF. Sometimes the HF specialist gets involved in the early stages of projects e.g. concept and scheme design, unfortunately this is still not always the case and the HF team is often requested when the design is relatively fixed.

I am relatively new to the nuclear industry. My experience of having worked in other industries such as aviation, construction and manufacturing supports my understanding of many of the processes applied in nuclear industry but also provides a different perspective on how HF could be applied.

12:20 A framework for addressing human factors challenges in manual decommissioning activities
Mel and Chris Lowe, Liv Systems

Decommissioning activities are often characterised by facilities and processes that rely on remote operation and mechanical handling.  However, many decommissioning activities also have aspects of conventional construction, dismantling and demolition. These activities, while not as sophisticated as some decommissioning processes, may present radiological hazards to the operatives carrying out these tasks.

This paper presents a framework for understanding and addressing the human factors challenges associated with manual decommissioning activities, principally those conducted manually by operatives wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as pressurised air-fed suits.

12:50 Discussion

13:10 Lunch and networking

14:10 A survival guide to practising ergonomics in the nuclear decommissioning industry when the schedule dominates proceedings
John Lovegrove, Canary Designs

The purpose of this talk is to pass on hints and tips for practising ergonomics in the nuclear decommissioning industry when the schedule dominates proceedings. It will include:
– Integration with the site, project and operating teams.
– Emerging approaches to design and engineering (digital manufacturing, Google engineering, skeleton design & engineering teams).
– The use of digital human manikins for improving the usability of concept designs.
– The importance of encouraging engagement between disciplines using some fairly basic participatory ergonomics techniques.
– Helping the site to develop operational concepts and the expectations on their workforce.

14:40 Break & networking

15:10 An EI guide to integrating human factors into decommissioning projects
Bill Gall, Kingsley Management Ltd

In 2010, the Energy Institute published guidance on the human and organisational factors aspects of decommissioning – currently being updated. The guidance was developed for the nuclear industry in which the decommissioning programme is many decades long. Other industries’ programmes are much shorter but many there are commonalities between them all: new tasks requiring new facilities and equipment, new procedures and bespoke training; extensive use of contractors without necessarily the in-house resource to effectively oversee their work; time pressures against project milestones, and, managing personnel in an environment of change and uncertainty – particularly regarding short and long-term job security. The new guidance will help with general and industry-specific case studies and short self-assessment checklists on key human and organisational factors.

15:40 The Regulator’s view
Elaine Vinton, Office for Nuclear Regulation

16:10 Human factors: What flavour are you?
Grant Hudson, Cavendish Nuclear

Within the discipline of human factors, there is an increasingly eclectic variety of backgrounds, education, specialisms, and skill sets, and that is just in the nuclear industry. Historically, human factors in the nuclear industry has developed with a focus on safe operation of power stations, requiring the application of a specific set of HF methods and techniques. As decommissioning work grows and budgets tighten, do we need a new breed of HF practitioner or do we just need to get clever in what we ask for and how we scope ‘Human Factors’ work?

16:40 Discussion

17:00 Close