Hinkley Point nuclear power station – supply chain shortfalls

There have been ‘shortfalls’ in the supply chain of the project to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, according to government inspectors.

Mark Foy, chief nuclear inspector at the Office of Nuclear Regulation, said: “NNB GenCo is undertaking work associated with design, construction and early manufacturing activities for Hinkley Point C. Current arrangements for the control of quality are judged, through ONR’s wider regulatory activities, to be appropriate at present.

“ONR believes that good progress has been made by NNB GenCo and its key supplier Areva Creusot Forge in deploying their improvement programmes – including enhanced manufacturing processes, management system arrangements and safety and quality culture.

“However the inspection has identified a number of areas where improvements are required to ensure this position is robustly maintained as the project progresses and the volume of work and resources required increases.”

In his introduction to the report, Foy said: “The first themed inspection has examined whether NNB GenCo (HPC) Ltd.’s supply chain management arrangements for ensuring the quality of structures, systems and components supplied to Hinkley Point C1 are fit for purpose. The inspection was instigated as a consequence of the records falsification issues that emerged during 2016 at Areva’s Creusot Forge facility in France – a key supplier to the Hinkley Point C Project.

“In doing so, my inspection team did not form a view on the broader Hinkley Point C project, but was instead seeking assurance on the adequacy of arrangements in a focussed area where potential shortfalls had previously been identified.”

The five areas of concern include: Learning associated with shortfalls at ACF; Supply chain self-assessment improvement programme; Quality Management System shortfalls; Roles and responsibilities for quality; and Internal assurance activities.

The inspector said that for each of the five Regulatory Issues raised, detailed corrective actions will be agreed with NNB Genco that will identify specific action and delivery dates. ONR will continue to monitor NNB GenCo’s progress against its commitments during future regulatory assessment work associated with key project permissioning points.