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NDA Annual Report and Accounts 2021-2022 | case studies

Major Sellafield construction project making progress

Steve Harnwell, Delivery Director for the Sellafield Product and Residue Store Retreatment Plant

Steve Harnwell is Delivery Director for the Sellafield Product and Residue Store Retreatment Plant (SRP). He provides an update on one of Sellafield’s biggest construction projects.


Tell us about your project?

The Sellafield Product and Residue Store Retreatment Plant (SRP) will safely receive all Special Nuclear Material (SNM) packages from existing storage locations across the Sellafield site before retreating them and placing into new 100-year packages for safe storage.

It’s being delivered by our Programme and Project Partners (PPP) model which brings together KBR, Jacobs, Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, Doosan and Sellafield Ltd to deliver a 20-year pipeline of major infrastructure projects to support decommissioning at Sellafield.

SRP is one of Sellafield’s biggest construction projects and is set to be ready for active commissioning in 2027. It leverages investment from Sellafield Ltd and its delivery partners, creating long-term construction and manufacturing opportunities for the local and national economies.

View of construction work at the Sellafield Product and Residue Store Retreatment Plant. A crane and foundations being laid can be seen.

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

The storage of degraded SNM packages in several different stores across Sellafield Ltd presents an intolerable risk position from the potential loss of containment from the failure of a single package. The SRP is required to safely and securely treat and re-package that material into new 100-year packages that will be transferred into the Sellafield Product and Residue Store for long-term storage.

SRP was originally initiated under traditional Sellafield Ltd project delivery practices and transferred to PPP in 2019 during the first year of the new contract model. Each of PPP’s current major projects play a vital role in ensuring colleagues can safely empty ponds and silos, manage the waste and store it safely for decades to come.

What have the key successes been?

This has been a pivotal year for SRP as it transitioned from design to construction. Following approval of the full business case, the project has progressed at pace, including procurement of key delivery packages, resulting in being ahead of its overall target schedule.

The casting of the first-floor slab has been completed, construction has commenced on the second-floor walls and the contract is placed for structural steelwork.

To date, the project has successfully awarded 59 contracts including its the supply of a critical glovebox process system and a £40 million heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) contract in February 2022. The HVAC contract marked the first time a major project delivered through the PPP model had awarded a material contract via PPP’s multi-project procurement approach.

The project has also introduced an industry- leading immersive digital experience for the construction site. Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been used on Sellafield projects for a while now, creating interactive 3D plans to guide construction work. The new system provides a 'BIM cave' in the project's open plan office area. The 'cave' provides an immersive interactive touchscreen, and is compatible with all software solutions required on the project.

What learning can be shared as a result of the work?

The BIM cave allows 3D modelling and 4D planning to be executed 'live' on the site and enhances the project's daily 'line of sight' planning by allowing people to visualise the plan and interfaces. This leading step is already resolving interface clashes and provides a better understanding and planning of the work for our workforce and supply chain. This is another advancement for deployment of BIM on Sellafield projects that is helping to de-risk the project execution.

Find out more: Sellafield new build project powers ahead