Opening of new vault at Drigg

A state of the art facility for the storage of the nation’s low level nuclear waste opened at the NDA’s site near Drigg in Cumbria on 29 July 2010.

Vault 9 has a capacity of 110,000 cubic metres and has been designed to meet the stringent requirements of the UK’s nuclear and environmental regulators.  Since the early days of planning Vault 9, the emphasis has switched from single solution disposal of Low Level Waste, which consumes capacity at the LLW Repository, to smarter strategies that help make best use of the site. This is being achieved by waste minimisation and recycling, particularly of metals. LLWR Limited is NDA’s partner in championing the opening up of diverse waste management routes in line with the 2007 Government Low Level Waste policy.

Phil Davies, NDA’s Head of Waste and Nuclear Materials, said:

“The three-way partnership of the site operator LLWR Ltd, UK Waste Management Partners and NDA has been instrumental in delivering this impressive facility. Having this new Vault in operation is vital. Without Vault 9 important nuclear cleanup programmes and operations would simply stall.”

Dick Raaz, Managing Director of LLWR Ltd, said:

“We are proud of the professionalism, skills and focused efforts of our own staff and all the contractors involved and express our gratitude for the patience of the local community who have supported us during this hugely important programme of work”.

A particular feature of the Vault 9 project was the decision to ensure that the vast majority of construction materials were delivered to the site by rail rather than road.  This reduced the number of potential road deliveries by 27,500 as over 98% of all construction materials were brought to the site by rail.