Rescheduled shipment of high-level waste from UK to Germany

Over the coming years, the United Kingdom will be returning high-level waste (HLW) in the form of vitrified residues to Germany.

There will be three shipments, for a total of 20 flasks containing 28 canisters each, to Federal storage facilities in Biblis, Brokdorf and Isar.

The first shipment of six flasks to Biblis was postponed in spring due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In agreement with the relevant Competent Authorities, preparations are now under way to perform this shipment by the end of 2020.

The waste results from the reprocessing and recycling of spent nuclear fuel at the Sellafield site in West Cumbria, which had previously been used to produce electricity by utilities in Germany.

The Vitrified Residue Returns (VRR) programme is a key component of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) strategy to repatriate HLW from the UK, fulfil overseas contracts, and deliver UK Government policy.

These returns involve Sellafield Ltd working in partnership with International Nuclear Services (INS) to return the waste to German customers.

INS,  part of the NDA group, will perform the shipments, drawing on more than 40 years’ experience of transporting nuclear materials safely and securely around the world.

The waste will be transported by sea on a specialised vessel to a German port, then onwards by rail to the final destinations. INS has contracted with Daher Nuclear Technologies GmbH (DNT), to safely manage the overland transport in Germany.

The shipments will be carried out in full compliance with all applicable national and international regulations, and subject to issue of all relevant permits and licenses. Furthermore, comprehensive Covid-19 measures are now in place to protect our crews and port operatives during vessel operations.

INS will provide further information on the shipments in due course.