Nuclear roundup

One of the UK’s most hazardous buildings at Sellafield is closer to being cleaned up after delivery of a huge piece of decommissioning kit. A 50t ‘transfer tunnel’ manufactured by Ansaldo NES in the West Midlands arrived at the Sellafield site, ahead of being hoisted into place in the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo building. The tunnel is the main component of the first Silo Emptying Plant (SEP) – one of three 360t machines which will scoop out the highly radioactive contents of the building as part of its decommissioning. The silo, which was built in the 1960s, contains waste created during the early days of the nuclear industry. It represents one of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s four highest priority decommissioning jobs. The other three are also at Sellafield.

The UK could build one of the world's first small modular nuclear reactors after ministers announced support for the technology through a £250M research package. A competition to identify the "best value small modular reactor design for the UK" will be launched in the new year, which will "pave the way towards building one of the world’s first small modular reactors in the UK in the 2020s", the Treasury said.