Waste Services

We have more than 10 years’ experience of successfully working with our customers to develop solutions across the radioactive waste lifecycle and provide access to the full range of treatment, logistics, and disposal techniques and technology in the UK, Europe, and Globally.

The WAC, all forms and templates for WMS and WAP services are no longer hosted on If you require these please contact the Customer Team.

Our Role

As part of its role as the NDA’s Low Level Waste (LLW) management contractor, Nuclear Waste Services is leading the implementation of the UK Strategy for the Management of Solid Low Level Radioactive Waste from the Nuclear Industry, as approved by Government in February 2016, in addition to the 2019 UK Integrated Waste Management Radioactive Waste Strategy, through the LLW National Waste Programme.

The core objectives of the programme are to:

  • Implement the Waste Management Hierarchy
  • Enable best use of existing assets
  • Enable use of flexible fit-for-purpose solutions to make best use of the Low Level Waste Repository site
  • Deliver value-for-money

To deliver this, we have developed a number of radioactive waste management services which are available to the nuclear industry and other producers of radioactive waste. These services provide access to a broad range of supply chain waste management expertise and facilities for treatment and disposal of radioactive waste.

Our vision

To be our customer’s first choice for waste solutions.

Our mission

Implementing the NDA’s strategy through the provision of integrated radioactive waste treatment, logistics and disposal solutions; and support the UK’s radioactive waste programmes.

Who are we?

We are specialists in the treatment and disposal of nuclear waste. Our goal is to ensure that waste is managed in a way that protects people and the environment, now and in the future. We work with customers to provide waste management services and solutions to address their challenges. As well as providing advice and expertise, we manage contracts and relationships across the waste cycle.

We are also responsible for delivering the National Waste Programme on behalf of the NDA and providing a range of waste management services to help waste producers follow the waste management hierarchy – diverting waste from disposal at the Low Level Waste Repository site, near Drigg in Cumbria, to alternative reuse, recycling, treatment and disposal routes.

Our site and our business are essential to the successful delivery of the NDA’s mission; to clean up the UK’s nuclear legacy. However, we are also vital to non-NDA organisations in the nuclear energy, defence, industrial, medical and research sectors. These organisations need us now and in the future.

The Benefits

Our Waste Services provide customers with access to the full spectrum of waste management capability:

World Class Expertise

Waste Characterisation and Expert Support

Waste Processing, Treatment and Volume Reduction

Metallic, Combustible, Alternative Treatment and Supercompactable

Logistics Solutions

Transport and Packaging

Disposal Solutions

Very Low Level and Low Level

The benefits include:

  • Access to the full spectrum of waste management capability
  • Economies of scale and value for money
  • Expert waste management advice
  • Public Procurement Regulations compliance
  • Accelerated procurement route and contract management administration
  • Management of capacity/demand on suppliers
  • Common supply chain assurance framework

World Class Expertise

Expert Support

This service includes the provision of technical expertise and waste management personnel to support waste management and decommissioning projects and the ability to identify and access cost-effective off the shelf solutions and adapt for use to meet specific applications.

The expertise available includes:

  • Strategic advice, technical analysis, optioneering, safety cases, Best Available Technique (BAT) and Best Practicable Means (BPM)
  • Provision of onsite support for radioactive waste management activities throughout the waste lifecycle, including characterisation, de-planting, size reduction and packaging of waste
  • Services available include onsite or off-site sorting and segregation in appropriately permitted and licensed facilities. Waste can then be consigned onwards to the most appropriate downstream treatment and disposal facility
  • Onsite project/programme management for larger complex jobs
  • Technical support for container inspection and package licensing
  • Dangerous Goods Safety Advisors, Waste Loading Plan support, Radiation Protection Advisor Support

Waste Characterisation and Assurance

Characterisation is a collection of techniques used to provide information on the physical, chemical and radiological properties of waste. The output of characterisation (such as radiological fingerprints) are used (alongside other considerations such as BAT and the Waste Hierarchy) to make decisions about the arrangements and routes for specific wastes.

Customers can access a full spectrum of capability for:

  • Planning, delivering and/or interpreting the results from characterisation activities
  • Health Physics monitoring, non-destructive assay, determination of waste properties, computer modelling, and collection of samples
  • Accredited laboratory analysis for samples of LLW, ILW and hazardous waste

Waste Processing Treatment & Volume Reduction


This service provides treatment of all main metal types such as carbon steel, stainless steel, iron, lead, aluminium, copper and brass for recycling, or, in higher contamination cases, for volume reduction and disposal.

  • Complete turn-key service from on-site waste preparation through to final disposal of nuclides, including management of any overseas treatment routes where needed
  • Treatment ranging from suspect-clean mixed-scrap to items at the top of LLW range, or beyond, including items used for spent fuel handling such as skips and flasks
  • Waste streams can be mixed metals, requiring sorting & segregation, to very large single items of up to more than 600 tonnes in weight
  • Recycling has been widely adopted in the UK, and internationally, for several decades and is the best available technique where items cannot be directly reused

Various metallic waste processing methods includes;

  • Surface treatment which may consist of abrasive cleaning, blasting, machining, milling, chemical cleaning, or water jetting.
  • Volume reduction including hot and cold cutting techniques and shredding.
  • Smelting which allows metals to be recycled or reused (e.g. shielding blocks) or volume reduced and sent for disposal.


Thermal treatment of radioactive waste is a very effective volume reduction and stabilisation technique. A wide range of wastes can be thermally treated including organics, plastics, wood, oils and solvents.

  • Waste is treated in dedicated facilities or co‐treated with non‐radioactive waste remaining isotopes are captured in the solid secondary waste (ash) as VLLW or LLW for disposal
  • Volatile components are driven off during the burn process and discharged to atmosphere in the gas stream or to water as a liquid effluent


Super-compaction is a common volume reduction technique used for supercompactable waste prior to disposal.

  • A range of wastes may be compacted by applying 1,400te to a maximum of 2,000te of pressure.
  • The final ‘puck’ is loaded into containers for disposal.
  • Waste is pre-packed in 210ltr drums. The drum is then compacted into a ‘puck’.

Alternative Treatment

The Alternative Treatment service is designed to develop and deploy new or existing solutions for problematic or difficult waste streams.

  • The service includes access to technical expertise, trials and implementation of new and improved radioactive waste treatment techniques.
  • This service is designed to access innovation and cutting edge technology to solve difficult waste management challenges.

Logistics Solutions


Nuclear Waste Services provides a range of packages for the transport and disposal of waste such as:

  • IP-rated Soft Sided Packages and bags
  • IP-rated metal and fibre drums
  • A range of ISO Containers for transport and disposal (Third-Height, Half-Height)
  • Type B Novapak and TN Gemini containers for transport of fissile materials
  • Support in the development of Waste Loading Plans
  • Access to the supply chain for a range of other containers that can be used to support the shipment of waste

Transport & Logistics

The Transport and Logistics service offers customers access to a portfolio of world-class transport expertise offering multi-modal shipments of radioactive waste to UK, European and global destinations.

  • The service provides road, rail and sea transport options through our supply chain partners
  • We have access to a wide range of equipment and trailer designs for transporting a wide range of packages
  • We have extensive experience of providing logistics solutions for containerised and non-containerised large items such as ductwork and boilers
  • The Waste Services team will develop logistical solutions to meet customer needs in line with all applicable UK and international standards and regulations

Logistics Services brochure

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Disposal Solutions

Very Low Level Waste

Waste with low activity levels that fall within the categories of High Volume Very Low Level Waste (HV-VLLW) or Low Active Low Level Waste (LALLW) can be disposed to permitted landfill sites.

We have several landfill sites available through our supply chain which are able to accept a wide range of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. This includes wastes with various activity levels from 4Bq/g up to several hundred Bq/g.

Typical packages used for disposal can include:

  • Soft Sided Packages
  • Drums or ISO containers
  • Wrapped and un-wrapped single items

Low Level Waste

We operate the UK’s National Low Level Waste disposal facility situated near the village of Drigg in West Cumbria.

Waste is typically disposed of in Half-Height or Third-Height ISO containers that are delivered by rail or road. All waste is required to meet the Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) or an approved variation. For further information on WAC please contact the Customer Team.

Once the waste has been accepted for disposal, the container is grouted prior to disposal in an engineered concrete vault at the Repository site. Once the vault reaches capacity a final engineered cap will be constructed over the vault, providing long-term protection to the wastes and the environment.

Information for new customers

For advice on any of our services or for details of how to become a customer, please contact the Customer Team.

1. Early Engagement

We would advise all new customers to discuss their waste management needs with our Waste Services team as soon as they are aware they require our treatment or disposal services. Early engagement allows any issues to be identified and resolved. We offer Waste Characterisation, Packaging and Transport services to enable Customers to manage their waste in line with the Waste Hierarchy and deliver “a right first time solution”.

2. Agreement in Principle

An Agreement in Principle is used when waste will not be generated for some time and a customer requires some confidence that the waste is suitable for consignment to the Repository site. This allows you to continue with operations in the knowledge that a Waste Services Contract will be entered into at a later date. To initiate this process, please contact the Customer Team.

3. Disposal Authorisation

To allow the treatment or disposal of LLW, the customer must hold a valid disposal authorisation obtained from the relevant environmental agency (Environment Agency for England and Wales or Scottish Environmental Protection Agency for Scotland) and issued under the relevant legislation.

The authorisation will state the requirements the customer must fulfil in order to transfer waste to Nuclear Waste Services for treatment and/or disposal. This is likely to specify limits on both the radioactivity concentration of the waste and the total radioactivity that can be transferred to us.

4. Waste Services Contract

New customers must enter into a Waste Services Contract in order to access the services we offer. The contract incorporates four key elements:

  • Terms and Conditions
  • Waste Acceptance Criteria
  • Waste Acceptance Procedure
  • Service Pricing Mechanisms

We have a standard Waste Services Contract which commenced on 1 April 2020 and will expire on 31 March 2025. This ensures that all customers are treated equitably.

Contact Us

If you would like any further information or require advice on any of our Waste Services, please contact the Customer Team:

Waste Management Services Customer Team

LLW Repository Ltd
Pelham House
Pelham Drive
CA20 1DB


Telephone 019467 70300

Updates to this page

Published 31 January 2022
Last updated 29 February 2024 + show all updates
  1. Added updated Logistics Services brochure

  2. Added Logistics Services brochure.

  3. First published.

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