Decommissioning of Pile Fuel Storage Pond

Sellafield Ltd is forging ahead with the decommissioning of the legacy Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) and has successfully commenced the retrieval of contaminated waste from the pond, safely exporting five tonnes of metal.

The PFSP was the very first nuclear fuel storage pond at Sellafield built in 1948 in order to provide the storage and cooling facility for irradiated fuel and isotopes form the two Windscale reactors. The plant ceased operating in the 1970s.

As part of the accelerated programme of work to decommission priority facilities at Sellafield, the PFSP workforce targeted the export of 5 tonnes of metal from the storage pond wet bays and a number of empty skips of waste. This initial target was achieved in April, ahead of schedule, and effectively demonstrated the export route for future retrievals.

The pond contains over 700 tonnes of activated and/or contaminated metal material which has generically been classed as Intermediate Level Waste and was destined to be encapsulated in 3m3 boxes in the Local Sludge Treatment Plant in the mid 2030s. However, this export success demonstrates that a significant proportion of this waste can be simply decontaminated and exported for either disposal as Low Level Waste or for metal clean up and recycling.

Dave Polkey, Head of Programme Delivery, said: “Starting metal retrievals is a significant step forward and builds on the excellent work that has already been underway to retrieve and store sludge from the pond and wet bays.

“Our current plan is to accelerate retrievals from the pond significantly, and complete the work as much as 18 years ahead of schedule. Successfully achieving milestones such as this demonstrate that this is possible and I would like to thank the team for all their hard work.”

Building on this success the target for the team is to remove 20 tonnes of waste in 2011/12.

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