Highly active waste to be repatriated from Sellafield to Japan

The programme of returning solid Highly Active Waste (HAW) from Sellafield to overseas customers will commence shortly. In the near future the name of the vessel, the departure port, the departure date, the route and the approximate time of arrival will be given.

This waste arises from the reprocessing of customers’ used nuclear fuel at Sellafield.

A single 113te flask, containing 28 stainless steel containers of solid HAW, will be transported from the Sellafield site, on a specially constructed rail wagon, to the port of departure.

It will then be transferred on to a Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd (PNTL) vessel prior to its departure for Japan. The voyage is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2010.

Mike Johnson, Director of Operations for Sellafield Ltd, said: “This work, known in the UK as Vitrified Residue Returns programme, will deliver on the Government’s policy and contractual obligations for return of waste to overseas customers.

“The first return infrastructure is in place and the first flask has been loaded and marshalled on the Sellafield site ready for transport. The programme is making the final preparations for transporting the consignment to the Japanese customers.”

All of the transports of HAW to Japan will be delivered by International Nuclear Services and its subsidiary, PNTL. PNTL has operated ships that travelled more than five million miles without any incident involving the release of radioactivity.

PNTL in 2007 completed a programme of 12 similar HLW transports to Japan for the French nuclear industry.

Mark Jervis, Managing Director of INS, said: “The waste will be transported by sea which is a tried and tested method that is safe, highly regulated and internationally approved.

“Japan will be the first customer to receive its HAW from the UK. The detailed arrangements for the transport have been put in place through discussions with customer and regulatory bodies in the UK and Japan.”

For further information on our UK Radioactive Waste Returns Programme click here