The launch of a new INF 3 class vessel, the Pacific Heron, for the Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited (PNTL) fleet took place today in Japan.

Japanese shipbuilders Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co., Ltd, is currently building the Pacific Heron at Tamano shipyard, where the launch by sliding the vessel, stern first, down the slipway took place in front of a number of senior European and Japanese industry representatives.

Launch of the Pacific Heron

The Pacific Heron was then towed to an outfitting berth where the vessel will be completed with delivery expected in November 2007. Pacific Heron is due in her home port of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria around the turn of the year.

British Nuclear Group Sellafield’s Managing Director of International Nuclear Services John Clarke, said: “The launch event is a significant milestone as it demonstrates that the ship is well on the way to operation.

“Working with Mitsui we are successfully managing the Pacific Heron build to time and cost. The vessel forms part of an ongoing commitment to provide a dedicated specialist nuclear transport operation. The PNTL fleet has an exemplary record with over five million miles travelled without any incident resulting in the release of radioactivity. The new ship will enhance and extend our capability even further.”

Mitsui said: “We are delighted with the progress that we have made on the construction of the Pacific Heron for PNTL, the world’s most experienced shipper of nuclear cargoes who have a thirty-year record of reliability and a special focus on safety.”

The Pacific Heron is a development of the design of the current PNTL ships which provide a safe and reliable service with the cargo compartments protected by a double hull configuration together with back-up availability of all essential systems.

For more information contact:

British Nuclear Group Sellafield Communications

Steve Barnes
+44 (0)1925 833249

Ali McKibbin
+44 (0) 19467 85839

Ben Todd
+44 (0) 1925 834431

Notes to editors

About PNTL

Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited’s ships are dedicated to the transportation of nuclear material that is classified by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) of the United Nations at its highest level of INF 3 class. The INF Code regulates shipments by sea of packaged irradiated nuclear fuel, plutonium and high level radioactive wastes.

PNTL has successfully completed over 170 shipments in the last 30 years. In each case, the nuclear material is shipped in specially designed packages known as casks or flasks. The ships have safely covered more than 5 million miles and there has never been a single incident resulting in the release of radioactivity. Over 2,000 casks of nuclear material have been safely transported by PNTL.

PNTL operates as a subsidiary company of British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd. PNTL is owned by British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd, Areva and a number of Japanese companies.

About British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd

British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd is a management and operations contractor delivering accelerated clean-up programmes safely and cost-effectively to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. British Nuclear Group Sellafield is contracted to procure, manage and operate the PNTL fleet on behalf of PNTL.

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