New UK Radioactive Waste Disposal Site Given Go-Ahead

UK regulators have given permission for the Lillyhall landfill site in Cumbria to start receiving and disposing of high volume very low level radioactive waste (HV-VLLW), the lowest level of radioactive waste. Waste Recycling Group (WRG), which owns and operates the site, will work with its partner EnergySolutions to safely dispose of the waste, providing a valuable service to the nuclear industry.

The site is the first one to be given the go-ahead under the Government’s 2007 Policy for the Long Term Management of Solid Low Level Radioactive Waste. The Policy calls for greater flexibility, implementation of the waste hierarchy to minimise waste for disposal, and a case-by-case development of solutions for the UK’s low level waste, including the use of specified landfill sites for HV-VLLW. It is also in line with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s 2011 Strategy.

The site will only handle HV-VLLW, which is many times lower in radioactivity than other forms of radioactive low level wastes. The wastes to be disposed at Lillyhall will typically include decommissioning wastes such as lightly contaminated building rubble, concrete, soil and steel reinforcing bars, redundant plant and equipment, as well as some operational (or process) wastes such as lightly contaminated clothing, gloves and paper towels from nuclear facilities.

Andy Ryan, development director at WRG, says: “There is a clear need for additional capacity for this category of material and we are pleased that, in partnership with EnergySolutions, we are able to play our part in implementing the Government’s policy. We will continue to work with the Environment Agency to ensure that the disposal is undertaken in a safe and sustainable way that gives confidence to the local community.”

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