One of a fleet of ships used by BNFL for transporting nuclear fuel between the UK and Japan is being taken out of service and recycled.

The method that will be used with the Pacific Crane satisfies all the internationally recognised regulations and guidelines for this kind of operation. These include the Basel Convention, the International Maritime Organisation’s recommendations on ship recycling and the International Chamber of Shipping’s code of practice.

It also satisfies the European Union Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Export Regulations.

The Pacific Crane has primarily been used to transport a range of nuclear materials between Europe and Japan since 1980.

She will leave port at Barrow today and be towed to the Netherlands where she will be cleaned, dismantled and then broken up for recycling at a specialist facility.

BNFL’s head of international transport Malcolm Miller said: “The Pacific Crane has been an excellent servant to the fleet. But now there is no more work available for this vessel so she is being decommissioned.

“We have very carefully investigated the most appropriate way to decommission the Crane so that it is done in an environmentally friendly way.”

The Crane has travelled more than 840,000 miles and transported more than 1,000 tonnes of spent fuel. It will take about five days for her to reach her final destination at Scheepsloperij Nederland BV in S-Gravendeel in the Netherlands.

Virtually all of the materials from the vessel will be recycled during decommissioning.

Maritime students are benefiting from the decommissioning of the Crane.
Technical equipment from the vessel has been donated to help in training sessions at Fleetwood Nautical College.

The Crane is part of a fleet of ships operated by PNTL, a subsidiary company of BNFL.


For more information and photographs contact Mark Longbottom on (01925) 834576.