Pile Fuel Storage Pond Project

Sellafield Ltd has requested agreement to commence the export of a single skip of metal fuel from the Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) to the Fuel Handling Plant (FHP).

The objective of the PFSP MFPP is to demonstrate that PFSP metal fuel can be exported directly to FHP. Exporting a single skip of fuel will provide learning and experience, which may be used to underpin the retrieval & possible export route for the remaining metal fuel in PFSP.  

If a direct export route to transfer fuel from PFSP to the FHP is feasible using current plant infrastructure, it may provide an opportunity for the early release of resources, funds and personnel to other high priority projects and realise an early termination of the risks associated with PFSP which is the oldest fuel storage pond facility on the Sellafield Site.

This report has been produced to justify the issuing of a Licence Instrument to agree to the PFSP exporting a single skip of fuel to the FHP.

Assessment and inspection work carried out by ONR in consideration of this request

ONR has undertaken a limited sample of the evidence within the safety case that has been submitted by Sellafield Ltd for the export of one skip of metal fuel to the FHP. The evidence sampled was considered to be commensurate with the relatively straightforward range of operations and hazards associated with the operation.

The assessments undertaken covered mechanical engineering, shielding, fault analysis and human factors. No outstanding issues remain from these assessments.

A readiness inspection of the proposed operation was undertaken. The focus of the inspection was on the implementation of arrangements within the PFSP to ensure compliance with a number of key nuclear site licence conditions. It included plant inspections, interviews with members of the workforce and the examination of documentation. No major issues were identified. 

Matters arising from ONR’s work

The assessments undertaken, including a readiness inspection of the PFSP raised a few minor issues. These have all now been resolved to the satisfaction of ONR. The readiness inspection was considered to have been satisfactory.


Based on the assessment of the submitted safety case and readiness inspection carried out, ONR has concluded that Sellafield Ltd has the people, plant and procedures in place to allow the PFSP to safely export one skip of metal fuel to the FHP.

The Environment Agency and ONR’s Civil Nuclear Security have been consulted and they have confirmed that they have no objections to ONR issuing this Licence Instrument.


It is recommended that a Licence Instrument should be issued to Sellafield Ltd for agreement to commence the PFSP export of one skip of metal fuel to the FHP.

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