Wednesday 25 November 2009
Return of Highly Active Waste, the journey begins
A key milestone in the first return of solid highly active waste (HAW) from the Sellafield site to overseas customers has been achieved with the loading of canisters into a flask, and the transport of the flask from the Residue Export Facility (REF) to the Flask Marshalling Area on the Sellafield site.
This completes the on-site preparations for the first return of canisters of HAW and hands over the operations to the transport phase of the programme.
REF, which checks and loads canisters of HAW into flasks prior to its shipment, started active commissioning in 2008 when radioactive inventory was introduced into the facility in a phased and controlled manner. Recently the REF team, working with International Nuclear Services (INS) completed the inspections and loading of canisters into the first flask to be returned to overseas customers.
The Vitrified Residue Return (VRR) programme encompasses all the necessary infrastructure and operations to effect the return of solid highly active waste to overseas customers, and both Sellafield Ltd and International Nuclear Services are playing major roles in these returns.
The plan is the first return of HAW by March 2010 and Mike Johnson, Executive Director Waste & Effluent Disposition said: “Everyone involved has played their part in successfully transitioning the VRR programme from the infrastructure phase into the operational part of the schedule, overcoming a number of challenges along the way. My gratitude goes to those who have put this programme in place and enabled the successful delivery to this stage. This is a major achievement in the repatriation of highly active waste.
The first repatriation of waste is destined for Japan, and this will be a significant milestone in safely delivering on the NDA contract obligations to overseas customers.”
VRR Programme manager John Brocklebank added: “This is a major achievement as the canisters and the flask have been checked and accepted by Sellafield Ltd, the customer, regulators and the customer’s specialist representatives. We have completed all the necessary steps to ensure a quality return."