The programme of returning solid Highly Active Waste (HAW) from Sellafield
to overseas customers is due to commence shortly, as announced on January
The waste arises from the reprocessing of those customers’ used nuclear
fuel at Sellafield.
A single 113te flask, containing 28 stainless steel containers of solid
HAW, will be transported from the Sellafield site, on a specially
constructed rail wagon, to the UK port of departure.
It will then be transferred on to the Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd (PNTL)
vessel the Pacific Sandpiper prior to its departure for Japan. The voyage
is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2010.
Mike Johnson, Director of Operations for Sellafield Ltd, said: “This work,
known in the UK as Vitrified Residue Returns programme, will deliver on the
Government’s policy and contractual obligations for return of waste to
”The first return infrastructure is in place and the first flask has been
loaded and marshalled on the Sellafield site ready for transport. The
programme is making the final preparations for transporting the consignment
to the Japanese customers.”
All of the transports of HAW to Japan will be delivered by International
Nuclear Services and its subsidiary, PNTL. PNTL has operated ships that
travelled for more than five million miles without any incident involving
the release of radioactivity.
In 2007 PNTL completed a programme of 12 similar HAW transports to Japan
for the French nuclear industry.
Mark Jervis, Managing Director of INS, said: “The waste will be transported
by sea which is a tried and tested method that is safe, highly regulated
and internationally approved.
“Japan will be the first customer to receive its HAW from the UK. The
detailed arrangements for the transport have been put in place through
discussions with customer and regulatory bodies in the UK and Japan.”
For more information contact Sellafield Ltd’s press office:
01925 834431/ 07738 039640