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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Sellafield on nuclear submarines waste list

Sellafield has been named on a Ministry of Defence short list of potential sites to store waste from its redundant nuclear-powered submarines.

One of the sites, which also includes Chapelcross, near Annan, the Atomic Weapons Establishment sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire and Capenhurst in Cheshire, will be chosen as the place that radioactive waste from decommissioned submarines is stored until the 2040s, when a planned permanent disposal facility is up and running.

Until then, the MoD is looking for sites to store the reactor components – categorised as radioactive waste – from its submarines that are no longer in service.

Some 18 former Royal Navy nuclear submarines are currently stored afloat in Devonport, Plymouth, and Rosyth, Fife but cannot be completely dismantled until the reactor components have been safely removed.

The first dismantling will be at Rosyth, with future dismantling taking place both there and at Devonport.

The MoD said it has identified five nuclear facilities across the UK as potential sites to store the waste from the submarines.

The sites, owned by either the MoD, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) or industry, already hold radioactive materials.

Sellafield and Chapelcross are owned by the NDA while the Atomic Weapons Establishment sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield are owned by the MoD and run by AWE Plc. Capenhurst is run by Capenhurst Nuclear Services.

A public consultation will take place in late this year and no decisions will be made until then.

The location chosen will be used as an interim storage site for reactor components until after 2040, when the UK’s Geological Disposal Facility for the permanent disposal of spent fuel and nuclear waste, is planned to come into operation.

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