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Formal Handover of the Silo’s Maintenance Facility takes place at Sellafield

The newest plant on the Sellafield site has been officially declared ‘ready for action’. The Silos Maintenance Facility (SMF) is a vital support plant to allow Sellafield to tackle one of its major priorities – emptying the waste out of its legacy silos.

Cavendish Nuclear, as part of a joint venture has been accountable for the SMF project from concept design right through to plant handover. The SMF Delivery Team (SMFDT) and Sellafield Ltd are extremely proud to announce the completion of the SMF project on schedule and within its sanction budget. The plant will now be used to support the retrieval of historical nuclear waste from the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo (MSSS) and Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS).

The Silos Maintenance Facility is a mechanical handling plant that provides equipment storage, inspection, package loading, unloading, decontamination and the maintenance capabilities essential to supporting waste retrievals.

Mobilisation and concept design began in the summer of 2011 with facility handover completing in March 2019. The whole Engineering, Procurement and Construction project was delivered two weeks ahead of schedule achieving an NDA ‘excellent’ milestone that demonstrates delivery of a compliant plant in accordance with strict legislation and Sellafield Ltd requirements.

Furthermore, an exemplary health and safety record was achieved with zero lost time accidents. This is no mean feat considering the complexity of a project of this size and the number of people involved – over 3 million man-hours and a peak workforce in excess of 250 people.

A fully integrated team working in co-located offices in Cheshire and at Sellafield site has undoubtedly contributed to the overall success of the project. The collaborative environment has resulted in efficient design production, effective supply chain engagement and a delivery focused, energised site team.

Kevin Bell, Sellafield SMF Project Manager said: “Delivery of the SMF Project is a key enabler for hazard reduction on Sellafield Site and I am immensely proud of the whole team for their dedication and commitment throughout the project lifecycle in delivering this significant milestone ahead of schedule in readiness for the start of retrievals.”

Paul Furness, Cavendish Nuclear SMF Project Director went on to add; “The key to the success of this project has been the collaborative working environment along with sheer hard work and determination. The team has faced many challenges along the way but we have overcome them working together as one
joint venture and client team to implement both innovative and fit for purpose solutions.”

“Handing over the project today is a major achievement for the whole team and the end of an era. For me personally, I’m excited to see the facility supporting retrievals from legacy nuclear waste plants across the Sellafield site.”

Chris Halliwell, head of the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo for Sellafield Ltd said: “Getting this new facility ready is a huge success story for the Sellafield clean-up mission.

“It will play an important role the UK’s hazard reduction programme and is testament to the collaboration between Sellafield Ltd and our supply chain partners, Balfour Beatty and Cavendish Nuclear

“Not only was the project delivered to time and budget but it also has an impeccable safety record, to have had five and a half years without an accident on a construction site of this scale is no mean feat.

“Congratulations to all those who have played their part and those who will safely operate the plant as it makes Sellafield safer, sooner.”

The project cost £250 million and is a collaboration between Sellafield Ltd, Balfour Beatty and Cavendish Nuclear, working together to deliver design, construct, install and test of the facility.

To mark their impressive safety record, the team has donated £8000 to eight local charities, chosen by those who have worked on the project.

The nuclear site is moving into a 100 year programme of environmental remediation, which means speeding up the decommissioning of old facilities and moving the waste into safe containment for centuries to come.

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