A shipment of vitrified high-level waste has left the UK for Switzerland on 7 October as part of a programme to return used nuclear fuel, sent to the UK for reprocessing, to its country of origin. International Nuclear Services (INS), a subsidiary of the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which is responsible for the shipment, said the waste resulted from reprocessing and recycling used nuclear fuel at the Sellafield site in West Cumbria. The fuel had previously been used by utilities in Switzerland to produce electricity. INS has a contract with Areva TN, Areva’s nuclear logistics business, to manage ground transportation of the waste in France.
INS said the shipment, comprising three transport casks, each loaded with 28 canisters of vitrified waste, left the UK port of Barrow-in-Furness on board its specialised vessel Oceanic Pintail. The transport casks will be unloaded at the port of Cherbourg for transportation to Switzerland by rail. Neither INS nor Areva gave details about the final destination of the shipment. INS said the vitrified residue returns programme is a key component of the UK’s strategy to repatriate highly active waste from the Sellafield site, fulfil overseas contracts and deliver on government policy.