TSP Engineering are one of two UK companies who have won a share of a multi-million pound framework to supply radioactive waste containers to Sellafield.  The 50-tonne containers will be used to transfer radioactive material from the Magnox Swarf Storage Silos to new treatment and storage buildings at Sellafield. Under the initial terms of the deal, the both firms will manufacture one package each for validation by Sellafield Ltd and a decision will then be taken on the production of the remaining packages needed.  The first part of the agreement is worth approximately £3m to each company. The overall framework value will be determined following production of the validation packages. The packages will be manufactured using UK-sourced steel.

Martin Chown, Sellafield Ltd’s supply chain director, said:

“Cleaning up our legacy facilities safely, quickly and cost-effectively is our absolute priority.

“We also want to maximise the social and economic benefits of our procurements for our local communities and the UK as a whole.

“I’m delighted that two UK-based companies have been successful in the first stage of this procurement. I’m especially pleased that one is based close to our site in west Cumbria.

“These containers will play a crucial role in the decommissioning of one of our most hazardous facilities; TSP and Cavendish are contributing to important work that will make the UK a safer place.”

The clean-up of the Magnox Swarf Storage Silos is one of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) highest priority programmes.

Ron Gorham, head of supply chain optimisation for the NDA, said:

“This agreement marks an important step forward, not just for Sellafield as it begins to clean out one of its most hazardous facilities, but also in underlining the important contribution of the supply chain both locally and for the UK.”

Built in the 1960s, and extended in the 1980s, the building contains 22 vertical compartments which store waste from the UK’s first generation of nuclear power stations.  It was constructed without plans for how the waste would eventually be taken out.  Now more than half a century old, the building is no longer suitable for long-term storage of nuclear waste.  As a result, an innovative solution is being deployed to retrieve material from what is effectively a locked vault.  To do this, three mobile emptying machines are being constructed above the compartments.  They will be locked into position above each compartment and the waste pulled out through an opening. The waste will be transferred to new buildings at Sellafield for treatment and interim storage, pending final disposal at the UK’s Geological Disposal Facility.  The silo will then be fully decommissioned and demolished.