Sellafield Ltd and International Nuclear Services (INS), working in partnership, have successfully completed the first shipments of solid highly active waste (HAW) to Japan and the Netherlands, safely, securely and in full regulatory compliance.
This is great news and demonstrates the capability developed by Sellafield Ltd and INS to support the HAW repatriation programme over the next ten years.
The containers returned to Holland have been checked against acceptance criteria and successfully sentenced to the HAW container store at the Habog Facility. The first set of acceptance checks have been successfully completed in Japan with the final set of checks planned to take place shortly.
As part of Sellafield Ltd’s commitment to continuous improvement, a key element in improving value for the UK taxpayer, the opportunity will now be taken to learn from experience before the commencement of future transports in order ensure the most efficient ways of working. Some improvements are already being made to the Residues Export Facility flask operator loading instructions as a direct result of these first two shipments.
Having received operational feedback from Japan prior to the Dutch return, the loading arrangements for the Dutch VRR shipment were checked. This check caused a minor delay in the departure of the shipment from Barrow to the Netherlands. Arrival was however on time to programme.
HAW arises from the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel at Sellafield for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Returning this waste to overseas customers fulfils contractual obligations and also UK government policy, which states that the waste from reprocessing should be returned to the country that benefited from the reprocessed fuel.
The returns programme will greatly reduce the quantity of this type of foreign waste stored at Sellafield.
The first Japanese shipment consisted of a single 113 tonne flask containing 28 stainless steel containers of solid highly active waste (HAW) which was transported earlier this year from the Sellafield site. This was followed by the Dutch shipment of one flask, also containing 28 stainless steel containers of HAW, which completed the return of all Dutch HAW from the UK. We are now working closely with our customers to set dates for future shipments of waste to Japan and other European customers.