Clean-up of one of Europe’s “most hazardous buildings”

The Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS) at Sellafield nuclear facili The Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS) at Sellafield nuclear facility. Picture courtesy of Sellafield Ltd

Engineers using new equipment designed and installed by a Bechtel-Cavendish Nuclear team, have begun retrieving waste from the UK’s oldest waste storage building, which has been described as one of Europe’s most hazardous buildings.

The Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS) at Sellafield nuclear facility in England is a sealed building with six compartments of radioactive material. It was built in the 1950s to store debris from the UK’s oldest nuclear reactors. A crucial stage was recently reached when a remotely operated crane reached through one of six shielded access doors and started safely and securely scooping out waste.

Euan Hutton, Sellafield Ltd CEO, said, “The first retrievals from the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo are a huge step towards delivering our purpose of creating a clean and safe environment for future generations. This achievement means that for the first time ever Sellafield is retrieving waste from all four of our legacy ponds and silos.”

Bechtel Cavendish Nuclear Solutions Ltd designed, manufactured, tested, and installed the retrieval system for Sellafield Ltd as part of the U.K Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s highest priority risk reduction clean-up program.

A remotely operated telescopic waste retrieval crane is now lifting waste out of the silo and placing it into a stainless-steel waste box. The box will be sealed up before being taken out of the building in a transport package and transferred to a more modern facility on the Sellafield site for long-term safe storage.

Mike Higgins, Bechtel’s project manager at Sellafield said, “This is another leap forward in the clean-up of one of Europe’s most hazardous buildings that has posed an environmental risk for decades. The rapid and safe retrieval of this waste and repackaging into modern containers is a national priority.”


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Andy Brown Editor, Editorial, UK - Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786224 E-mail: [email protected]
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