Radioactive sludge has been transferred out of the world’s oldest nuclear fuel pond for the first time, the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Sellafield Ltd announced yesterday. The project is being delivered ten years ahead of schedule and for half the expected cost, they said in a joint statement. Sludge – formed from decaying nuclear fuel, natural growing algae and other debris – has accumulated in the water of the Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) at Sellafield during its 65-year lifespan. It must be removed so the facility can be safely decommissioned. The PFSP is one of the four ageing facilities at Sellafield which the NDA has prioritised for clean-up. The project is being delivered for half the predicted £200 million ($246 million) cost. A ten-year project to dewater the pond will start in 2019, while sludge is still being removed.
World Nuclear News 22nd Dec 2016 read more »
Inside Sellafield: how the UK’s most dangerous nuclear site is cleaning up its act. Sellafield is home to 80% of the UK’s nuclear waste and some of the world’s most hazardous buildings. Now it needs to clean-up. Update: Radioactive sludge has been removed from a Sellafield pond for the first time, as part of the decades-long programme to clean up the site. Following years of planning, the first 500-litre drum containing sludge, formed from a mixture of decaying nuclear fuel, natural growing algae and other debris, was moved to an encapsulation plant last week. It will now be grouted, to render the water passively safe, before being processed into storage state, ready for final disposal in a geological disposal facility. According to the Nuclear Decomissioning Authority, it will take several years to remove all of the sludge in the pond, but it is a start.
Wired 22nd Dec 2016 read more »