During their years of operation, the reactors at Hunterston A produced a certain amount of waste material, classified as either low or intermediate depending on their level of radioactivity. Whilst all low level waste is sent off-site to a repository, a purpose built storage facility was conceived as a solution for safely and securely storing all ILW on-site until such time that the Scottish Government Higher Activity Waste Policy identifies final storage and disposal options for Scotland’s nuclear ILW.
Mark Stubbs, Hunterston A Site Director said: “The safe retrieval and encapsulation of all ILW is a key requirement of Hunterston’s preparation for its care and maintenance phase in 2022. The transportation of the first active waste package into the store marks a major milestone for the site, Magnox Limited and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). It is also testament to the dedication and commitment of the site workforce, who over the next few years will safely transfer approximately 1,650 packages of intermediate level waste on the site into our ILW store.”
Construction of the Hunterston A ILW store commenced in 2004 and includes mechanical handling systems so that processed and packaged waste can be stored safely, easily inspected, and removed safely. The building structure is 120m long and 21.6m wide, with 1.2m thick concrete walls, a concrete roof and a fixed base mass concrete foundation with an ability to store approximately 2,400 waste packages for over one hundred years.
Brian Burnett, Head of Programmes at the NDA, said: “Retrieving, packaging and storing waste in safe and secure facilities is an important hazard reduction activity and a key step on the path to care and maintenance. I commend Hunterston A and Magnox on achieving this milestone.”