Work to get a new facility to support waste retrieval from two of Sellafield’s most hazardous legacy facilities has been completed.

This work was to decommission Sellafield’s Magnox swarf storage silos.

The second of three machines to scoop waste out of the 1960s buildings has now been fully assembled, and a crucial new building, which will support waste retrievals in the plant, has gone live.

Sellafield said this means clean-up work at the silo continues to progress after waste removal began in earnest in April 2022.

That marked a major moment in the history of Sellafield and was featured on national media, including Sky News and The Sunday Times.

The Magnox silo has been described as one of the most hazardous in western Europe and contains 10,000 cubic metres of ‘intermediate-level’ waste from the earliest days of the UK’s civil nuclear industry.

Eventually, three huge silo-emptying machines will be used to grab waste from the plant’s 22 compartments.

The second of the three has now been fully built after the final piece, its main control cubicle, was fixed into position.

They were originally designed and manufactured in Wolverhampton by Ansaldo NES, and are now under the wing of Sellafield Ltd and the decommissioning delivery partnership framework partner - i3 Decommissioning Partners.

Neil Rogerson, senior project manager at Sellafield, said: “This is a big moment for ‘machine number 2’.

“We’ve fully rebuilt it inside the silo and can now start the job ahead of making it work.

“It’s been a challenging but rewarding project with a truly integrated team.

“I wouldn’t want to have been on any other job because nothing is as big as this in creating a clean and safe environment for future generations.”

In a further boost to clean-up activity in the plant, a new facility designed to support work there has gone active.

The silo maintenance facility will maintain the equipment used to retrieve radioactive waste from both the Magnox silo and the nearby pile fuel cladding silo.

Both buildings are among the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s highest-priority clean-up projects.

Roddy Miller, Sellafield’s operations director, said: “It’s an important moment in the life of any facility, stepping into the real world of active operations.

“The Silo Maintenance Facility is a world-class facility geared up to do a vital job for decades to come.

“Everyone working there can be proud of the part they will be playing to deliver our purpose of creating a clean and safe environment for future generations."

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