Orphan waste at Sellafield finds a home

Sellafield Ltd’s Waste and Effluent Disposition directorate is celebrating the successful trials of a new route established for the treatment and disposal of contaminated Low Level Waste oil from the Sellafield site; a waste that has until now been regarded as a legacy orphan waste. 

This represents the first ever volume of LLW contaminated oils from the Sellafield site to be sent for incineration within the UK.

The trials successfully tested the viability of the process and route which involves transporting consignments of oil for disposal by thermal treatment via Fawley Thermal Treatment Centre in Hythe, Hampshire and will be instrumental in dealing with a site inventory of approximately 250m3 of LLW contaminated oil.

Following an optioneering study that identified the best option for treatment and disposal of waste oil as thermal treatment in the UK, engagement with the regulators was undertaken to enable the necessary discharge authorisation changes required to take place. Sellafield Ltd was granted a variation to the site discharge authorisation by the Environment Agency in April 2010.

Work has been undertaken by Solid Waste Operating Unit working together with PC Richardson, the Solid Waste Handling Team, Transportation Logistics, Facility Characterisation and LLWR Ltd, as well as the various waste generator plants during 2010/11 to trial the route and commission it for use by Sellafield Ltd.

Helen Cassidy from Solid Waste Technical commented: `The identification and opening of new waste treatment and disposal routes is a key contributor to Solid Waste OU’s ability to offer timely, cost effective and environmentally sound waste management for the Sellafield site. Delivery of these trials is a significant achievement and has enabled the opening of a route for an historic waste type.’

Two trials were undertaken in a planned and controlled manner which involved a multitude of factors including, sampling and characterisation, data assessment and verification of the data against the authorisation and the treatment facility conditions for acceptance, repackaging of the waste into containers compliant for transport and treatment and marshalling of the waste and transfer of the waste off site to the Fawley facility.

Paul McDonald, Waste Advisor and Richard Kipling, Solid Waste Technical who worked alongside Helen throughout the project commented, `The successful trials have proven that Sellafield Ltd now has a viable treatment route for a waste stream previously considered an orphan waste, this is a major achievement in reducing the waste inventory on the site. The two trials alone reduced the site waste oil inventory by 3.5%.’

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