International Nuclear Services, its subsidiary Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited and Sellafield Ltd have successfully completed the fifth shipment in a decade-long programme to repatriate highly active waste to Japan from the UK.

The vessel, Pacific Grebe, arrived in Japan on 16 September, having travelled via the Panama Canal.

The 124 canisters of waste, contained in five transport flasks, were unloaded at the port of Mutsu-Ogawara, from where they were transported by road to Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd’s storage facility at Rokkasho-Mura.  Each transport flask will undergo a series of tests prior to the canisters being removed to be placed in storage.

This was the fifth such shipment from the UK demonstrating excellent progress in the programme to return foreign-owned waste stored in the UK to its country of origin.  Overall it was the seventeenth shipment of its type from Europe to Japan since 1995.

The transport flasks were transported by rail from Sellafield to Barrow-in-Furness where they were loaded onto the Pacific Grebe for shipment to Japan.

Mark Jervis, INS managing director, said: “This fifth successful shipment from the UK to Japan shows that with meticulous planning and close working with Sellafield Ltd we can continue to deliver progress in this long-term programme.”

“I would like to thank all of our transport partners and customers for their hard work and co-operation in making this shipment such a success, and the Barrow community for their continued support for our safe operations”

The programme is called the Vitrified Residue Returns, a key component of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s strategy to clean up the Sellafield site, fulfil contracts with overseas customers and deliver UK Government policy.