Foreign Waste At Sellafield Ready To Ship

Britain’s nuclear industry processing and technology center Sellafield said that preparation work for returning high-level waste back to overseas customers has been completed.

Sellafield waste projectThe work is part of the closing out of commercial reprocessing contracts.

Over the years, Sellafield has received spent nuclear fuel from around the world to be reprocessed at its Thorp plant, generating close to $12 billion in revenue for the UK.

Waste created during the process remains the property of overseas customers who are contractually obliged to take it back.

Before it’s returned, Sellafield converts the waste, known as highly active liquor, into glass. The process, called vitrification, makes it more stable and easier to handle.

It’s then packaged into metal containers and ‘pre-attributed’ at Sellafield’s Residue Export Facility. This means it’s weighed, cleaned, inspected, and monitored for gamma radiation, and then set down for storage.

The work began in 2008. In total, 1,840 containers have been prepared and cleaned.

More than half have been sent back to customers in Japan, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The remaining containers will be sent back to Japan, Germany and Italy over the next 6 years. Japan is the biggest customer, with half of all containers returning there.

Waste returns are managed by Nuclear Transport Solutions.

Sellafield’s vitrification plant will continue to operate into the 2030s to manage the UK’s inventory of highly active liquor.

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