Stainless Metalcraft has been producing the 3M3 (three metres squared) boxes since it was awarded an initial £50m contract back in 2015. Now the company, which is a part of Avingtrans PLC’s Process Solutions and Rotating Equipment division, has mutually agreed with Sellafield to exercise an option to enter the second phase of the contract. This will see Metalcraft deliver an additional 1,000 boxes to Sellafield over the next six years, with the contract's overall value rising to £70m.
“Moving on to phase two of the contract is a tremendous achievement for Metalcraft and is just reward for the hard work and expertise the team has put into developing the 3M3 programme over the last five years,” said Austen Adams, managing director of Avingtrans’ Process Solutions and Rotating Equipment division.
“Having proven the technology and manufacturing processes involved, we are now in a position to ramp up production further and begin the transition towards large scale volume production, which will enable us to support Sellafield in this essential decommissioning work over the coming years.”
The 3M3 boxes are used to store intermediate level waste (ILW) retrieved from silos at Sellafield’s legacy nuclear sites in Cumbria. ILW is a category of nuclear waste that includes fuel element cladding, contaminated equipment, and radioactive sludge requiring shielding. Intermediate waste from historical operations is encapsulated inside the stainless-steel containers and stored at the Sellafield site above ground.
“Retrieval of wastes from Sellafield’s legacy ponds and silos is nationally important work, and we’re dedicated to ensuring this is done as safely, quickly and cost-effectively as possible,” said Susan Lussem, supply cain director at Sellafield Ltd.
“Moving the waste into modern storage will mean a huge reduction in the UK’s nuclear hazard, but before we can remove the waste, we have to be confident we have somewhere safe to put it and that we have a reliable supply of containers for decades to come.”