Nuclear regulatory authority
The designated UK Nuclear Regulatory Authority responsible for regulating safety and security is the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). ONR is responsible for regulating nuclear safety, conventional health and safety on nuclear sites, nuclear security and the transport of radioactive material. ONR also ensures compliance with UK’s international safeguards obligations, facilitating the work of EURATOM and IAEA inspectors.
Nuclear activities on civil sites
ONR regulates at 36 licensed sites, including operating nuclear reactors, a new nuclear reactor construction site, decommissioning sites, fuel cycle facilities, waste management facilities and nuclear research sites.
Radioactive waste and spent fuel management
ONR regulate radioactive waste and spent fuel management under the same regulatory framework as all other nuclear activities in the UK.
Transport of Radioactive material
ONR is the Competent Authority for the civil transport of radioactive material in the public domain. ONR assesses applications and issues Certificates of Approval for packages, shipments and materials that require Competent Authority approval for Road and Rail and also assesses these applications on behalf of the Sea and Air Competent Authorities in the UK. ONR also undertakes inspection programmes of radioactive material transport operations in both the nuclear and non-nuclear (medical, industrial etc) sectors. ONR bases its assessments on modal legal standards, which are based on the IAEA Transport Regulations and is actively involved in the development of these regulations and associated advisory material.
ONR regulates nuclear and conventional health and safety across a number of licensed and non-licensed nuclear sites, which are operated in pursuit of maintaining the UK’s nuclear defence capability, under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Main legal instruments
The Energy Act 2013 established the ONR as a statutory body and sets out its purposes and powers; the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 sets out a framework of requirements to ensure the protection of workers and the public from risks associated with all places of work; the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 establishes a system of licensing for civil nuclear installations; the Ionising Radiation Regulations 2017 implements the European Council Directive on Basic Safety Standards for radiation protection; the Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment for Decommissioning) Regulations 1999 implements European Council Directive 85/337; the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 implements European Council directive 96/29; the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 provides the regulatory framework for civil nuclear security; and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 make provision for the disclosure of information held by public authorities, the latter in respect of information about activities which might affect the environment.
Last updated in June 2018