News story

Low Level Waste Repository achieves major milestone

LLW Repository Ltd has submitted a far-reaching planning application which, if successful, will ensure the future of its site until 2050.

Low Level Waste Repository near Drigg
Low Level Waste Repository near Drigg

The submission of the application follows news that LLWR has been granted a revised permit to allow continued disposal of wastes at the site – the culmination of 7 years’ work by the organisation.

The site, near Drigg, in West Cumbria, is the UK’s national facility for the disposal of low level radioactive waste.

And the planning application is seeking to enable the phased construction of 3 new vaults (9a, 10 and 11) where low level waste would be disposed of in specially-grouted containers.

If successful, construction work on vault 9a could start in 2016 and run for almost 4 years.

The application would also allow higher-stacking of containers in vault 8 and the disposal of containers in vault 9, where they can currently only be stored.

In addition, it would permit the construction of a final cap over existing and new vaults and seven landfill-style trenches where waste was disposed of prior to the opening of the site’s first vault in 1988.

The final cap would ensure the site was progressively restored to grassland with screening planting on the site perimeter.

Dennis Thompson, LLWR Managing Director, said:

Obtaining a permit for disposal is a major milestone for the company, achieving one of the key objectives of the NDA who awarded us the contract for managing LLWR in 2008.

So much hard work has gone into this great news, and I would like to thank all who played a part in achieving this outcome.

The Environmental Permit and the planning application go hand-in-hand, one cannot work effectively without the other.

Our planning application is the next step. Hopefully it will be determined early in the new year. We will then be in a position to press ahead.

We plan to develop the site to its full capacity, which will allow us to accommodate all the forecasted low level waste arisings well into the next century.

LLWR hopes eventually to construct up to 14 vaults on site, leaving a closure date of around 2130.

David Batters, NDA’s Chief Financial Officer and Estate Programme Director, added:

The granting of the Environment Agency permit is a significant step forward, and once the site has the aligned planning permission in place then together they set out a clear approach to the long-term management of the site.

The need for long-term planning alongside value-for-money operations is exactly what we require and what LLWR Ltd is on track to deliver.

Published 3 November 2015