Decommissioning milestone at UK’s Chapelcross NPP

18 May 2021

The UK’s Magnox Limited said on 12 May that it had delivered a major decommissioning milestone at its Chapelcross NPP Site with the first active waste package placed into the site’s storage facility.

Chapelcross, with four 60MWe Magnox reactors operated from 1959 until 2004.

The first package was a Ductile Cast Iron Container (DCIC) containing waste from the site’s former cooling ponds. The Interim Storage Facility (ISF) can hold over 700 waste packages of four different approved package types, and will be filled over the next five years as part of decommissioning work. The ISF, standing 57 metres long and 23 metres wide, has been constructed to store packages for 120 years.

Mark Blackley, Chapelcross Acting Site Director said: “The retrieval, processing and storage of this first package of intermediate level waste (ILW) is a great achievement for the site and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in getting us to this position.

This is the first step on our path to safely secure all the ILW generated during Chapelcross’ operations, until final disposal options have been identified.”

During operation, the reactors and processing facilities at Chapelcross generated various amounts of waste material, classified as either low or intermediate level depending on their level of radioactivity. Whilst Low Level Waste (LLW) is sent off-site for treatment and disposal, the purpose-built ISF will securely store all the 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. Construction of the ISF began in 2014 and the building includes mechanical handling systems so that processed and packaged waste can be stored safely, easily inspected, and removed safely.

John Grierson, Magnox Nuclear Operations Director, said achievement of this milestone “is the culmination of a larger work programme to design, manufacture, install and commission equipment required to retrieve, condition and store ILW on-site. I would like to express my gratitude to the Magnox workforce and our supply chain partners for their support.”

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