Nuclear regulator puts Hinkley Point C supply chain assurance on amber warning

The company building Hinkley Point C (Hinkley Point C), the new nuclear power station in Somerset, has ‘deficiencies’ in its supply chain arrangements and quality assurance and must make improvements, according to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

The regulator gave an ‘amber’ rating to the company’s supply chain arrangements, saying that NNB GenCo, the delivery company for the EDF/CGN-owned plant, “has to consider the effectiveness of its current project assurance arrangements and identify areas for improvement”.

The warning was the result of a targeted inspection that examined whether HPC’s supply chain management arrangements for ensuring the quality of structures, systems and components are fit for purpose. It followed the discovery in 2016 that records had been falsified at the Creusot Forge facility in France – a key supplier to HPC. These became apparent after the French nuclear safety regulator, ASN, found major technical and organisational shortcomings at the Creusot Forge plant.

ONR said that it was ”broadly satisfied” with new management system arrangements at Creusot Forge. However it found the HPC company had deficiencies in other areas. Among them, ONR said:

  • Evidence was not provided during the inspection to demonstrate how NNB GenCo had captured all key learning from the issues associated with the failings at Areva Creusot Forge and ensured effective dissemination to key contractors interviewed as part of this inspection. 
  • NNB GenCo’s supply chain improvement programme requires further development to ensure it is effectively prioritised, time-bound, resourced and better aligned to the project schedule and associated regulatory permissioning points.
  • The supply chain improvement programme requires better project-wide governance and leadership to ensure effective delivery. 

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