The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate of the UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has given permission to BNFL to reroute the future production of medium active concentrate (MAC) at Sellafield.
Currently, arisings of MAC from Magnox reprocessing are sent to the Enhanced Actinide Removal Plant (EARP), where the bulk of the radioactivity is removed, before discharge to the Irish Sea.
The intended modifications will route further MAC to storage in the highly active storage tanks and subsequently to vitrification.
The outcome of this decision will be to significantly reduce the level of discharges of Technetium-99 (which EARP is unable to remove) and other radioactivity from future MAC arisings into the Irish Sea.
The modification will allow the volume of MAC stored in tanks on site to be reduced to minimum operational levels. Having received this permission, BNFL can now start the process of diverting the MAC to Highly Active Storage.