Urenco takes on Capenhurst site

30 November 2012

The UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has today completed the transfer of its Capenhurst site to Urenco subsidiary Capenhurst Nuclear Services (CNS).

Capenhurst (Sellafield Ltd)
Capenhurst: Now entirely owned by Urenco (Image: Sellafield Ltd)

The 60-year-old Capenhurst site was previously split into two parts. One part – a former diffusion uranium enrichment plant that shut down in 1982 - owned by the NDA and operated by contractor Sellafield Ltd. While most of the plant has now been decommissioned, uranic material (primarily depleted uranium and uranium hexafluoride) is expected to be stored on the site until 2120. The other part of the Capenhurst site comprises Urenco's operating centrifuge uranium enrichment plant.

CNS has now taken ownership of the NDA portion of the site, combining it with the adjacent Urenco-owned site to create one nuclear licensed site. The transition started in December 2011, when the NDA signed agreements with Urenco. Transferring ownership of parcels of land on the site required removal of Energy Act designations.

Activities formerly carried out by Sellafield Ltd at Capenhurst will be transferred to CNS. This includes decommissioning and storage operations, as well as the processing of government-owned by-product/legacy material from uranium enrichment through Urenco's Tails Management Facility.

The transfer is part of the NDA's asset use program which has seen land at site including Wylfa, Oldbury and Springfields transferred to private sector ownership.

NDA commercial director Sean Balmer commented: "When added to the other successful projects in the asset use program, well over £1 billion ($1.6 billion) in savings have been produced for the UK taxpayer, through reduction in NDA liabilities or income receipts from the sale of land."

Urenco CEO Helmet Engelbrecht said, "CNS is committed to responsible uranium stewardship. Our objective is to provide a centre of excellence for uranic storage, decommissioning and recycling."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News