Workers at the UK Sellafield site have completed the complex task of removing stocks of legacy nuclear fuel from the Pile Fuel Storage Pond - the most significant clean-up step in Sellafield's history. Radioactivity at the 68-year-old pond has been reduced by 70%. The pond was used to cool nuclear fuel rods after they had been burned in the old Windscale Pile reactors to create weapons material in the 1940s and 50s.
The removed fuel has been transferred to a modern storage building at Sellafield where it can be held in a far safer environment. It was a major challenge for the Sellafield team. The pond was built with no design for how its contents would be removed. "We have had to retro-fit an export process and then safely execute it in one of the most challenging environments imaginable," said Paul Foster, Managing Director of Sellafield Ltd.