The programme of returning solid Highly Active Waste (HAW) from Sellafield to Japan will continue with a second shipment, this time consisting of three flasks.

Information about the shipment will be released as follows:

name of the vessel (prior to departure)
the departure port (day of loading)
the departure date, the maritime route, approximate time of arrival (after departure)
the completion of the voyage (after delivery)

Preparations at Sellafield site are continuing with three flasks containing the HAW now loaded. The flasks are in the flask marshalling area on the Sellafield site, in preparation for final transportation by rail to the port and then onward shipment to Japan.

To date Sellafield Ltd and International Nuclear Services (INS) have successfully completed two shipments of solid HAW to Japan and Holland, safely and to schedule.

Speaking about the project, Vitrified Residue Returns Programme Manager Will Watson said: “Since the tragic events on 11 March we have been working closely with INS to support our customers in Japan through this difficult time. Such close collaboration has helped secure the reassurances needed by all parties that the second Japanese return can progress to its original schedule.”

The waste arises from the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel at Sellafield for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Japanese customers. HAW is therefore being returned to customers in accordance with contractual obligations and UK government policy. Current UK policy states that waste arising from contracts for reprocessing signed with overseas customers since 1976 is to be returned to the customer of origin.

The Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd ships, which are used to transport the HAW, are operated by INS and have safely covered more than five million miles without a single incident resulting in the release of radioactivity. Over 2,000 flasks of nuclear material have been safely transported.

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. The detailed arrangements for the transport have been put in place through discussions with customer and regulatory bodies in the UK and Japan.

“INS, together with our customers in Japan, have mutually agreed that this waste be transported to them as planned and in accordance with contractual obligations for its repatriation. The port and receiving facilities have been confirmed to be fully operational.”