Waste saving at Sellafield

Collaborative working by teams at Sellafield has delivered a solution to a problematic waste disposal issue, saving the company over £250,000 in the process.

Delivering on a 12 month project, the Legacy Ponds Project team, operations, engineering and Separation Area waste team have together removed the redundant skiphandler mast and the skip grapples from the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond and successfully disposed it as Low Level Waste (LLW) rather than Intermediate Level Waste (ILW), meaning that significant savings have been made in disposal and storage costs.

The skip grapple tool which had historically been used to transfer skips of fuel, sludge and miscellaneous beta gamma waste from within the pond had been left in a position that was impacting future decommissioning work. As such, there was a requirement to retrieve the equipment so that it could be treated and disposed of.

Speaking about the task, John Cass from the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond risk and hazard reduction team said: “Overall this was a great effort involving many teams.

“Sections of the contaminated skip handler mast were decontaminated to suitable levels prior to cutting using plasma arc technology. The size reduced material was then packaged ready for disposal.

“The skip grapple was then prepared and wrapped together with supporting detailed assessments made by the solid waste coordinator – ensuring that it contained low-enough levels of radioactivity to allow it to be sentenced as LLW.”

Waste and Effluent Disposition Director Mike Johnson commended the teams involved – stating: “This particular task represents a great example of partnering and performance among the different groups across the business and I thank everyone involved for the successful completion of this task.

“This work also demonstrates to our customer and our regulators evidence of how we are successfully implementing the Waste Management Hierarchy across Sellafield Ltd – by providing a great of example of how we minimised and re-categorised this waste. Let’s keep up the good work.”