Metalcraft will supply 2200 high-integrity stainless steel storage boxes to store historic radioactive waste retrieved from a silo at the UK’s Sellafield site. The contract is worth up to £50 million ($78 million).
The three-meter-cubed boxes will be used to store safely and securely historic intermediate-level waste (ILW) to be retrieved from the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS) at the Sellafield site. The silo has six compartments and currently holds more than 3200 cubic metres of waste.
The PFCS is one of the site’s four legacy pond and silo facilities. Commissioned in 1952, the facility’s primary role was to receive and safely store radioactive fuel cladding from the military project at Windscale. As Magnox power stations started to generate electricity for domestic use, it also received fuel cladding from the Calder Hall and Chapelcross power stations. The silo was filled by 1964.
A Waste Retrieval Facility (WRF) superstructure has been built alongside the PFCS and remotely-operated equipment will retrieve the historic waste from the silos and package it into the three-meter-cubed storage boxes, which will then be transported to safe interim storage.
Sellafield Limited said this is the first of two contracts and that an announcement would be made shortly on the second. “The initial stage will prove volume production can be achieved on the required quality and throughput rate, and then steady state volume production will manufacture the bulk of the boxes,” it said.
“This is also the first program of boxes required for the storage of historic nuclear waste at Sellafield and a second larger program will require the manufacture of thousands more boxes in support of decommissioning a second historic waste storage silo,” the company added.
Cambridgeshire based Metalcraft has committed to a new facility in West Cumbria for completion of the boxes for the Phase 2 contract.
Sellafield Ltd managing director Paul Foster said: “We recognize that how we work with our supply chain can and should play a fundamental part in supporting socio-economic growth and ensuring that we remain the backbone of the community. Our investment in education, skills and infrastructure must be felt in West Cumbria and the wider UK economy.”
He added, “By running a procurement which includes measurable socio-economic expectations right from the start we will be better place to ensure that we add as much value as we can in this area, whilst still delivering on what is a vital decommissioning program.”
Stainless Metalcraft managing director Austen Adams said, “This is a landmark contract for the business and we’re genuinely excited by the potential it offers. Since joining the Civil Nuclear Sharing in Growth program just over 12 months ago, the team has invested a huge amount of time and effort to develop their understanding of the decommissioning process, honing the skills and processes required among the team, and this contract is just reward for all their hard work.”