Trawsfynydd ILW store opens its door

Trawsfynydd celebrated a major milestone when its new Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) Store was officially opened – marking a first for a Magnox site.

Guest of honour Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, from the Welsh Assembly Government, was invited to cut the ribbon while guests watched as a demonstration package was manoeuvred into place.

Once the waste has been retrieved, it needs to be placed in a secure and controlled environment awaiting a long term storage option for the UK’s nuclear wastes.

Construction of the store, which can hold up to 368 concrete ‘overpacks’ and 2,444, drums containing ILW, began in May 2006. The construction phase of the £20m Trawsfynydd ILW store was completed March 2008.

Dr. Sara Johnston, the NDA’s Magnox Programme Director, said: “This represents a major step forward in the decommissioning process and is a reflection of the whole team’s dedication and commitment.”

Trawsfynydd Site Director, Dr Phil Sprague, said: “The opening of the Trawsfynydd Site store is a major achievement and a significant milestone in the journey towards decommissioning.”

He added: “The completion of such a major project – on schedule, within budget and without a single lost time accident – is testament to the excellent work and commitment of both Magnox North staff and our specialist contractors.”

The store was built using over 32,000 tonnes of concrete; it is 94m long, 34m wide and 19m high. Packages will be received and inspected before being dispatched to an appropriate storage area using a series of cranes and remote handling devices.

Opening the Store, Lord Elis-Thomas said: “I have been involved with the site and the workforce for over 35 years, and feel very privileged to have been asked here to open this building in 2009, 50 years from when construction of the power station began. It is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of the staff in reducing the remaining hazards, protecting the public and the environment.”

99% of the radioactive hazard was removed from site in 1995 when the last of the high-level waste (fuel) was despatched to Sellafield for reprocessing. 43% of Trawsfynydd’s radioactive waste volume – which accounts for 67% of the radioactivity remaining on site – has already been packaged and is ready to be transferred into the store. This work is aligned with the NDA’s goal to reduce the higher hazards at the UK’s civil nuclear licensed sites.