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NDA Annual Report and Accounts 2021-2022 | case studies

Chapelcross first active waste package in storage

Richard Murray, Chapelcross Site Director at Magnox

Richard Murray, Chapelcross Site Director at Magnox, talks about the first active package of waste being placed inside an interim storage facility at the site.



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When the site generated electricity, its reactors and processing facilities created various amounts of waste material that now needs to be managed. This is an important part of the decommissioning and hazard reduction process which is now underway.

Waste is categorised as low level or intermediate level. Whereas low level waste is taken offsite for disposal, the approach in Scotland is to safely package intermediate level waste (ILW) in containers and place them in secure storage until such time that the Scottish Government Higher Activity Waste Policy identifies final storage and disposal options.

We’ve now built an interim storage facility at Magnox’s Chapelcross site and the first package of active waste has been placed inside. This represents a big step towards delivery of the site’s decommissioning mission.

A view from beneath the yellow lifts and machinery lifting the first active waste package into a storage facility at the Chapelcross site

What has been achieved?

Building of the store itself is a big achievement. Standing at 57 metres long and 23 metres wide, it includes mechanical handling systems so that processed and packaged waste can be stored safely, easily inspected and removed safely.

It can hold up to 700 containers and four different package designs have been approved for use. We’re now into a waste retrieval campaign to fill the facility, with the building designed to be safe and secure for up to 120 years.

Of course, the store is only part of the success. It is the culmination of a larger work programme to design, manufacture, install and commission equipment required to retrieve, condition and store ILW. The first package that went into the store contained waste following decommissioning of the site’s cooling pond – another significant decommissioning milestone. I would like to express my gratitude to the Magnox workforce and our supply chain partners for their support.

How does it help contribute towards delivery of the NDA group’s mission?

Ensuring waste at Chapelcross is passively safe and placed in modern, fit-for-purpose containers is an important step towards delivery of the NDA’s overall mission to safely reduce hazards and decommissioning its sites.

The interim storage facility is based on designs that have been built and experience gained at some other Magnox sites. A programme approach to managing ILW around the Magnox fleet helps to ensure lessons are shared within the NDA group and best value is achieved for taxpayers.

Find out more: Milestone for Chapelcross as store accepts first waste package.