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NDA Annual Report and Accounts 2021-2022 | case studies

High hazard waste retrievals project at Sellafield

Chris Halliwell, Head of Programme Delivery for Magnox Swarf Storage Silo at Sellafield Ltd.

Chris Halliwell is Head of Programme Delivery for Magnox Swarf Storage Silo at Sellafield Ltd.



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The first batch of waste has been safely removed from one of the most hazardous buildings on the Sellafield site, the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo.

This is the culmination of decades of preparation by hundreds of people across our Sellafield Ltd and supply chain.

Workers on the walkway over the silo at Sellafield

As well as maintaining the original concrete structure of the building, we have designed and are installing purpose-built retrieval machines.

The first of our three retrievals machines has now started the job which will take another 20 or so years to complete. Our teams use this machine to reach down into the compartment of the silo, grab waste from inside, and put it inside containers that have been designed and manufactured for the job.

Eventually those metal waste boxes will be held safely inside a new highly engineered store currently being built on site. So that we can get waste out as soon as possible, we are making use of existing stores at Sellafield until the new one is ready.

All of the waste will eventually be sent to a geological disposal facility when that becomes available.

Once empty of waste, our attention will turn to decommissioning and ultimately knocking down the silo building.


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First waste removed from old nuclear Sellafield store.