First waste package for new Sellafield store

21 December 2023

Sellafield’s newly-opened Box Encapsulation Plant Product Store (BEPPS) has received its first box of nuclear waste.

An above ground vault that can store intermediate level wastes for the next hundred years, the BEPPS will support the clean up of Sellafield’s legacy ponds and silos. BEPPS has the capacity to store 6,681 waste boxes inside its one metre-thick walls and can receive up to nine boxes every 24 hours. The building’s Direct Import Facility, an annexe to the store, received the box following years of meticulous planning and testing. The DIF was built to receive the packages of nuclear waste retrieved from ageing stores in the oldest parts of the Sellafield site.  

The first package contains waste from the Pile Fuel Cladding Store (PFCS) which, since being constructed in the 1950s, has stored 3,200 cubic metres of intermediate level waste for 70 years. It was used to store fuel cladding from the UK’s earliest nuclear reactors. Designed as a ‘locked vault’ with no plan for how it might be emptied in the future, today it represents one of the highest hazards on the Sellafield site. 

The first batch of waste was retrieved from PFCS in August 2023. Once filled, a five-tonne box was loaded into a shielded transport flask, monitored, and cleared for export to BEPPS-DIF and was transported from by road. 

BEPPS will store the waste until it’s ready for permanent disposal underground in a Geological Disposal Facility.

Euan Hutton, Sellafield Ltd CEO, said: “The receipt of the first box of waste into BEPPS-DIF marks an important breakthrough in the clean-up of our site and a huge step forward in our mission to create a clean and safe environment for future generations.”

David Peattie, NDA group CEO, added: “Removing waste from the PFCS is one of our biggest challenges, this new facility is providing the storage capability to allow us to do that safely and securely. It also provides future capability for retrievals from other high hazard facilities such as the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo.”

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