Dr. Diego Fernandez Lisbona is a Principal Inspector and the Office for Nuclear Regulation's (ONR) Deputy Professional Lead for Internal Hazards. ONR is the UK’s independent regulator of nuclear safety, nuclear site health and safety, security, safeguards and safety of transport of nuclear and radioactive materials.

An important hazard and risk to consider and control at any major hazard installation, including GB nuclear licensed sites, is fire and, consequently, ONR regulates Fire Safety at GB licensed sites to ensure that dutyholders reduce risks from fire so far as is reasonably practicable (SFAIRP).

Fire at nuclear installations not only has the potential to directly involve and disperse radioactive materials, but also challenge the availability of nuclear safety measures, pose a significant direct threat to life, and/or for the hazard arise from security threats. These dimensions, amongst many others, need to be appropriately considered by dutyholders and regulators, but fall within the scope of multiple technical disciplines. For example, chemical and process engineers should design processes to prevent and offer resilience against fire; Internal Hazards specialists consider and assess the threats to the process and nuclear safety measures which arise from outside the process boundary but are within the control of the dutyholder; fire safety engineers are responsible for fire safety in building design; security experts consider the potential for malicious acts such as intentional fires etc., the list is long. It is also often the case that fire safety considerations across the distinct technical areas not only have synergistic but also competing effects. For example, the implementation of specific measures for nuclear safety resilience such as a reduction in the number of penetrations through nuclear fire barriers can challenge evacuation and access for firefighting due to increased travel distances.

This paper will share expectations and experience from ONR’s regulation of the UK’s nuclear sector on how collaborative leadership has enabled the identification and resolution of conflicts in fire safety management. The paper will explore the key behaviours, attributes and values (personal and organisational) that enabled conflict resolution to reach the optimum regulatory approach across ONR purposes. Finally, the paper will offer early insights as the UK embarked on self-assessment as part of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) Topical Peer Review 2 (TPR 2) exercise which covers Fire Protection and is being undertaken from 2022 through to 2024.

Dr. Diego Fernandex Lisbona

Dr Diego Fernandez Lisbona is a Principal Inspector and ONR’s Deputy Professional Lead for Internal Hazards. A Chemical Engineer by training and with a Doctorate in Chemical Engineering by the University of Nottingham (2009), Diego joined ONR in 2016 following roles as a Major Hazards specialist at the Fire and Process Safety Unit of the Health and Safety Laboratory/ Health and Safety Executive (2008-2012) and as a Principal Consultant in both the UK nuclear new build and non-nuclear, major hazards sectors (2012-2016).

During his time as a consultant, Diego chaired numerous Hazard and Operability (HAZOP), HAZID and Hazards of Construction (HAZCON) studies and delivered Consequence Modelling and safety submissions for large and diverse capital delivery projects involving natural gas transmission networks. He also developed Generic Design Assessment (GDA) submissions for GB nuclear new build projects, COMAH Safety Reports for new entrants as well as conducting safety audits and incident investigations.

Once in ONR, and aside from his role as an internal hazards specialist in the New Reactors and the Sellafield Decommissioning Fuel and Waste (SDFW) divisions, Diego was ONR’s Delivery Management Group Lead (DMG) for Advanced Nuclear Technologies (ANTs). From 2017 to 2021, Diego led the capability development work that enabled ONR to deliver its commitments, laid out in the 2018 Nuclear Sector Deal, which included the provision of advice to UK Government on innovative reactor designs. This involved the development and implementation of ONR’s knowledge management approach for ANTs, the ANTs international engagement plan and the regulatory process for early assessment of 7 advanced fission reactor proposals taking part in the Advanced Modular Reactors (AMR) Feasibility and Development (F&D) project.

In 2020, Diego returned to ONR’s Technical Division as Deputy Professional Lead for Internal Hazards. He is also the ONR project lead coordinating the UK’s contribution and response to the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) Topical Peer Review 2 exercise, which will cover Fire Protection from 2022 through to 2024.