Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Sellafield decommissioning milestone

24 November, 2015

Transfer tunnel
ONR is pleased to see the arrival of a key piece of decommissioning kit which will contribute to accelerated hazard and risk reduction at Sellafield.

A 50-tonne ‘transfer tunnel’ has been hoisted into place at the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo (MSSS) – an ageing facility which contains significant quantities of intermediate level radioactive waste.

The tunnel is the main component of the first Silo Emptying Plant (SEP) – one of three 360-tonne machines which will extract the radioactive contents of the building as part of its decommissioning.

The reduction of hazard and risk, quickly and safely, at Sellafield is a key national priority and ONR’s number one regulatory priority.

ONR works with the Environment Agency, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Shareholder Executive and Sellafield Limited to ensure risks and hazards posed by the historic ‘legacy’ facilities on the Sellafield site are reduced.

The silo, which was built in the 1960s, contains waste created during the early days of the nuclear industry. It represents one of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s four highest priority decommissioning jobs. The other three are also at Sellafield.

Andy Lindley, Director of ONR’s Sellafield Programme, said: “These SEP machines have been under design and development for many years so to finally see them arrive at MSSS marks a significant milestone.

“MSSS poses an intolerable risk and the retrieval of waste from this ageing facility is a major priority for ONR and Sellafield Ltd.

“We hope to see a smooth commissioning process for the SEP machines leading to a timely commencement of the retrieval of waste from this facility.”