Tata Steel set for Sellafield contract

18 May 2015

Tata Steel is set to be awarded a £20 million ($31 million) contract for the provision of 'packages and gamma gates' for decommissioning operations at the UK's Sellafield site.

In a 15 May statement, Sellafield Limited said it had named Tata Steel - part of India's Tata Group - as "being best positioned to deliver an important package of work to support the removal of nuclear waste from ageing storage facilities into modern stores."

Under the four-year contract, Tata Steel will modify and refurbish an existing fleet of packages and gamma gates. These are essentially specialist high-integrity steel containers and doors used to provide shielding during the safe transfer of waste from the legacy storage plants at the site to modern, purpose-built stores.

The packages and gamma gates will be used in the decommissioning of the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo (MSSS), one of the four oldest nuclear waste stores at Sellafield. Nuclear material will be moved from the silo and transferred to a new Silo Direct Encapsulation Plant (SDEP) where it will be packaged for safe, secure storage.

The MSSS project was built to accommodate the swarf waste produced by the decanning of Magnox fuel prior to reprocessing. The swarf was stored underwater, and the first facility of six silos began operations in 1964. By 1983 a total of 22 silos had been built, but by the early 1990s wet storage of Magnox swarf was superseded by dry storage.

Three silo emptying plants are currently being built, the first of which will be delivered to the site later this year. After undergoing testing, this should be available for solid waste retrievals in 2017.

Sellafield Ltd managing director Paul Foster said, "I am delighted to have a local company demonstrate the capability, capacity and commitment to meet the program requirements. It means we can also expect a range of benefits to West Cumbria and the local supply chain, which ultimately is what we, and local stakeholders, want to see in the region."

Tata Steel employs more than 360 people at its site in Workington, Cumbria.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News