One of the most important construction projects at the Sellafield site has taken a major step forward.

Two large vessels have been delivered to the site's Box Encapsulation Plant and are now ready for connection.

The plant will play a vital role in Sellafield’s 100 year clean-up programme by taking nuclear waste recovered from the site’s original waste plants and encasing it in concrete so it can be stored in a modern building.

The vessels, manufactured by Bendalls Engineering in Carlisle, will deal with effluent generated during the process.

Sellafield project manager Ewan Smith said: "This is an important milestone for the project and I’d like to congratulate everyone involved.

“These are complex vessels which will play an important role in the plant.

"They are designed to collect and sample medium active effluent so it can be safely transferred to the specialist facility that manages the material.

“Bendalls’ work on the project began with a relatively simple contract to provide vessels to deal with lower activity effluent.

"These were completed and installed some time ago.

“During that work, we gained valuable experience that informed the delivery of the more complex, larger vessels.

“It’s a great example of how long term collaborative relationships with our supply chain partners can deliver results for the Sellafield mission.”

The arrival of the vessels marks the end of two years of work.

The boxes were specified by the Box Encapsulation Plant joint delivery team and Sellafield and designed, manufactured, and tested by Bendalls in Carlisle.

After they are installed work will begin on the associated pipework required for the system.

The plant is primarily designed to deal with waste from the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo, one of four legacy waste plants prioritised for clean-up by Sellafield's owner, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Alongside that work, the plant will also receive waste from the other three legacy waste stores: the first generation magnox storage pond, the pile fuel storage pond and the pile fuel cladding silo.