Using Robust Fuel at Heysham 1

British Energy, the owner and operator of Heysham 1, has requested that the regulator approves NSR 2 amendments so that Robust Fuel may be loaded into the Heysham 1 Power Station reactors.

Background

Fuel for advanced gas cooled reactors (AGRs) has been modified slightly to take on board changes to its manufacturing route and to add features that are known to improve fuel performance. The enhanced design, called Robust Fuel, is described and its use justified in a category 1 safety submission. This change has been accepted by an independent nuclear safety assessment and the licensee’s Nuclear Safety Committee members. The fuel may not be used in the site’s reactors until Heysham 1 Technical Specification NSR (Operating Rule) amendments are made; these require regulatory approval.

Assessment and inspection work carried out by Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) in consideration of this request

The proposal has been assessed by ONR fault study, fuel behaviour, fuel route handling and criticality specialists and found to be acceptable. The ONR site inspector has confirmed that the licensee is ready to commence using the fuel in the reactors at the power station.

Matters arising from ONR’s work

There are no regulatory issues or concerns.

Conclusions

This proposal has undergone technical review within the licensee’s organisation and it has been subjected to ONR assessment. There is no technical or regulatory reason that prevents regulatory approval being given for NSR 2 amendments that will allow Robust Fuel to be loaded in the Heysham 1 Power Station reactors.

Recommendations

Approval of NSR 2 amendments should be given by issuing Licence Instrument No 565 to the licensee.

You can read the Project Assessment Report here.

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