Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Nuclear spin.png This article is part of the Nuclear Spin project of Spinwatch.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is the regulator for the civil nuclear industry in the United Kingdom. It is an agency of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), created in April 2011 pending planned legislation to establish it as an independent statutory body (anticipated 2013). [1]


The ONR brings together the safety and security functions of HSE’s Nuclear Directorate (incorporating the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, the Office for Civil Nuclear Security and the UK Safeguards Office) and, from 1 June 2011, the Department for Transport’s Radioactive Materials Transport Division.

Controversies and criticisms

Directors' tax problems

In February 2012, two ONR officials had their contracts terminated, after it emerged that they were receiving payment through private companies rather than the staff payroll.

Paul Brown, chief operating officer, was paid via his company Operations Improvements Ltd, based in Surrey. Jon Seddon, finance director and head of corporate services since early 2010, was paid through SEUC Company Ltd.[2]


In February 2013, Powerbase's NuclearSpin revealed that several nuclear companies including EDF Energy and Babcock International had seconded staff to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

  • EDF Energy, which at the time was asking ministers to consider a 40-year subsidy scheme for its proposed UK plants, seconded two staff. One is an interim programme manager for the ONR's programme at the Sellafield plant in Cumbria. The other is a technical assistant on the Decommissioning Fuel and Waste Programme.
  • Babcock International - two staff secondees to ONR. One was a technical assistant to the Civil Nuclear Reactor Programme; the other, an employee to help with the ‘Development and review of ONR wide processes’.

The ONR said that all secondees are paid for by the nuclear industry and it has safeguards in place to ensure there is no conflict of interest. It added that no secondee works on matters directly related to their parent organisation.[3]

Other previous secondments (see secondees section below) have included a Babcock Marine employee who assisted on ONR site inspections from June 2009 until mid 2011, and a Magnox site programme manager from January 2011, who worked on new build and transformation projects for 12 months as a Nuclear New Build Programme Manager. [4]




  • Nick Baldwin - Chair, former chief executive of Powergen until 2002, and a former non-executive director of Scottish and Southern Energy[5] and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. His appointment was expected to be for 2-3 years, pending the successful passage of legislation to establish the ONR on a statutory basis (now anticipated 2014). In October 2013 the Government announced that Baldwin had won the competition to become the permanent statutory head of the ONR once it becomes a statutory body.
  • Kevin Myers - HSE's Deputy Chief Executive. He is also a member of HSE's Senior Management Team.
  • Paul Kenny - General Secretary of the GMB trade union in May 2006, having become Acting General Secretary in June 2005. He was appointed to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Board as non-executive director for a three year term which started 1 October 2010.
  • Steve Bundred
  • John Crackett - from July 2011. Previously was Managing Director of Central Networks – the UK’s second-largest distributor of electricity - and also E.ON UK Board member responsible for Safety, Health and Environment.
  • Liz Siberry -From 2008-11 was the Director of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) [6]

Executives (Board)

  • Mike Weightman (SCS) - HM Chief Inspector Nuclear Installations, Executive Head of Office for Nuclear Regulation [6]
  • John Jenkins - appointed Chief Executive of ONR from 1 June 2013,[7] having previously been Chief Operating Officer [8][6] since 11 June 2012. Before that he was MD of Morgan Sindall Professional Services, a multi-national and multi-disciplinary consultancy. He has previously held a range of senior management and director roles, including at White Young Green (WYG) Consulting and Ove Arup & Partners. He is a chartered engineer. [9]
  • Les Philpott (SCS)- Director of Finance and Corporate Services since 1 April 2012, leading ONR's corporate finance, HR, communications and internal security functions. He was previously responsible for corporate governance and accountability in ONR, and for strategy, policy formulation and managing ONR's relations with Government (Div. 7 Nuclear Policy and International Relations). [6]

ONR's Executive Management Team

  • John Jenkins
  • Mike Weightman
  • Les Philpott
  • Kevin Allars (SCS) - Director of the Change Programme on 30 April 2012, was previously Director Nuclear New Build Programme [10]
  • Dave Caton - Head of Human Resources[10]
  • Sue Kelly, Head of Communications[10] since April 2011, previously Strategic Communications Manager (Sept 2010 – April 2011) and a Campaign Manager (April 2006 – Sept 2010) [11]
  • Derek Lacey - Director of Regulatory Policy, Strategy and Assurance [10] (previously Div. 3 Defence Nuclear Facilities Regulation)
  • Dave Thomas -joined ONR in April 2012, initially on a six month secondment from HSE corporate finance.[10]

ONR programmes

  • Colin Patchett - Deputy Chief Inspector; previously Director Civil Nuclear Reactor Programme (previously Div. 1 Civil Nuclear Power Regulation). He regulates the safety of operating and defueling nuclear power stations and licensing and permissioning of proposed new build nuclear power stations. [12]
  • Mark Bassett - HM Deputy Chief Inspector; Director Sellafield programme; regulating the safety of Sellafield and Windscale nuclear licensed sites in Cumbria.[12] Office for Nuclear Regulation
  • David Senior - Director Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste Programme and Director of Defence Programme - Regulates safety on a variety of nuclear fuel sites, including fuel cycle, nuclear research, waste management and decommissioning sites. And regulates safety at defence sector nuclear sites, including submarine and atomic weapons facilities, working closely with the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator.[12]
  • Adrian Freer - Director Civil Nuclear Security (previously known as Div. 5 Office for Civil Nuclear Security). He regulates security at civil licensed nuclear sites, and all other locations where sensitive nuclear information is held; and the movement by road and rail within the UK, and globally within UK flagged vessels of nuclear and other radioactive material.[12]
  • George Sallit - Head, Radioactive Materials Transport. Regulates safety during the transport of radioactive material by road and rail in Great Britain, and advises on its transport by air and sea within the UK territorial waters.[12]

Former employees (as at June 2011)

  • Paul Brown - was Chief Operations Officer until 2012 when his contract was not renewed
  • Jon Seddon - Div. 4 Operational Strategies & Corporate Services until 2012 when his contract was not renewed
  • Andy Hall (SCS) - Head of Regulatory and Technical Standards for the Fukushima review
  • Roger Brunt -ONR Transformation Programme Director (SCS)
  • Alun Williams (SCS)-Strategic Project Programme
  • Len Creswell (SCS) -Div. 6 Deputy Director Nuclear New Build Programme

Secondees from industry

  • Mike Pigott was employed by the regulator on secondment from industry from January 2011, working on new build and transformation projects for 12 months as a Nuclear New Build Programme Manager. In April 2012 he joined management and construction consultancy Turner & Townsend as a director with responsibility for the power sector. T&T's clients have included British Nuclear Group, which said of the company: "We found Turner & Townsend to be an excellent choice as our partner for the delivery of programme controls at Sellafield. They were particularly supportive of our need to develop programme controls capability with in the organisation and worked with us to align their talent in a delivery role as well as an instructional role." [13] Previously Pigott worked as Wylfa Site Programme Manager for seven years with Magnox.
  • Andy Bevan from Babcock Marine and Technology, assisted on ONR site inspections from June 2009 until mid 2011.
  • Sophie Morrison was employed on a six-month secondment from BAE Systems in Barrow, Cumbria, working as a process-mapping consultant working on ONR's business management system (BMS). [14]



Address: 4N.2 Redgrave Court, Desk 26, Merton Road, Bootle, L20 7HS
Phone:0151 951 3484



  1. Creation of the Office for Nuclear Regulation Written ministerial statement from the Department for Work and Pensions Minister for Employment, The Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP, 8 February 2011, accessed 22 June 2011
  2. Rajeev Syal, Nuclear regulators paid through private firms will not have contract renewed, The Guardian, 24 February 2012
  3. Richard Cookson, Nuclear industry secondments to Government departments responsible for policy and regulation, Spinwatch, 22 February 2013
  4. Mike Pigott welcomed as national power sector lead, Turner and Townsend website, dated 30 April 2012, acc 21 June 2012
  5. Baldwin leaves SSE board Herald Scotland, published 2011-04-02, accessed 2011-04-03
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 ONR Board, ONR website, undated, accessed 21 June 2012
  7. John Jenkins formally appointed as Chief Executive of ONR, published 2013-06-07, accessed 2013-06-09
  8. Appointment of Chief Operating Officer, published 2012-05-31, accessed 2013-06-09
  9. Appointment of Chief Operating Officer, 31 May 2012, accessed 21 June 2012
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 ONR's Executive Management Team, ONR website, undated, accessed 21 June 2012
  11. Sue Kelly profile, LinkedIn, accessed 21 June 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 ONR Programmes, ONR website, accessed 21 June 2012
  13. Mike Pigott welcomed as national power sector lead, Turner and Townsend website, dated 30 April 2012, acc 21 June 2012
  14. Nuclear Directorate's industry secondment project, ONR website, undated, accessed 21 June 2012