Radioactive waste in the United Kingdom

Waste type Volume (cubic metre)
Stocks at 1 April 2010 Estimated future arisings Lifetime total once all wastes are packaged
HLW

1,620

 -601(1)

1,330

ILW

94,300

192,000

488,000

LLW

66,000

4,360,000

4,550,000

(1)  Future arisings of HLW have negative volumes. This is because Sellafield has reported future arisings of HLW to show that the volume of accumulated waste (liquid plus vitrified product) will fall as liquid waste existing at 1 April 2010 and forecast in the future is conditioned to a vitrified product.

Radioactive waste is managed on 36 sites in the UK that include:

  • operating nuclear power stations at nine sites – Magnox reactor stations at Oldbury and Wylfa, Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGR) stations at Dungeness, Hinkley Point, Hartlepool, Hunterston, Torness and Heysham, and a Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) station at Sizewell;
  • shut down Magnox reactor stations undergoing decommissioning at nine sites – Berkeley, Bradwell, Calder Hall, Dungeness, Hinkley Point, Trawsfynydd, Chapelcross, Hunterston, and Sizewell;
  • facilities supporting the civil nuclear fuel cycle at three sites - Capenhurst, Sellafield and Springfields;
  • four nuclear research and development sites, where the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is undertaking facility decommissioning and site clean up – Harwell, Windscale, Dounreay and Winfrith;
  • the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion facility located at Culham;
  • ten sites owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which undertake operations in support of the atomic weapons programme (Aldermaston), the nuclear submarine propulsion programme (Barrow-in-Furness, Derby, HMNB Devonport, Clyde, Rosyth and Vulcan) and other activities (Donnington, Eskmeals and HMNB Portsmouth);
  • the health science company GE Healthcare operates from three sites in the UK – Amersham, Cardiff and Harwell;
  • the site at Sheffield is storing a small quantity of waste from the accidental smelting of radioactive materials in a steel manufacturing plant;
  • the national disposal facility for LLW in Cumbria (i.e. the LLWR).

Site Location Activities Responsible organisation 1
Aldermaston
(AWE Aldermaston including Burghfield)
Berkshire Research and development, design, manufacturing, servicing and decommissioning of nuclear warheads MoD
Amersham Buckinghamshire Produces products containing radioactive materials GE Healthcare        
Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria Building, testing and commissioning of new nuclear powered submarines MoD
Berkeley Gloucestershire Decommissioning of Magnox reactor power station and research laboratories NDA
Bradwell Essex Decommissioning of Magnox reactor power station NDA
Calder Hall Cumbria Decommissioning of Magnox reactor power station NDA
Capenhurst Cheshire Decommissioning of uranium enrichment plant and radioactive material storage NDA
Operating uranium enrichment facilities Urenco
Cardiff South Glamorgan Produces products containing radioactive materials GE Healthcare
Chapelcross Dumfries & Galloway Decommissioning of Magnox reactor power station NDA
Clyde (HMNB Clyde) Dunbartonshire Maintenance and support services for UK's operational nuclear submarine squadrons MoD
Culham Oxfordshire Operating Joint European Torus (JET) fusion facility 2 NDA
Derby (Raynesway) Derbyshire Manufacture of fuel for nuclear powered submarines. Development of submarine nuclear reactor design. MoD
Devonport (HMNB Devonport) Devon Maintenance and support services for UK's operational nuclear submarine squadrons MoD
Donnington Shropshire Storage of redundant radioactive equipment MoD
Dounreay Caithness Decommissioning of shut down Fast Breeder Reactors and fuel cycle support plants. Waste disposal facilities (to be remediated) NDA
Dungeness Kent Dungeness A: Decommissioning of Magnox reactor power station NDA
Dungeness B: Operating AGR power station EDF Energy
Eskmeals Cumbria Depleted uranium weapons testing MoD
Hartlepool Cleveland Operating AGR power station EDF Energy
Harwell Oxfordshire Decommissioning of nuclear research reactors and other nuclear research facilities NDA
Production of radioisotopes GE Healthcare
Heysham Lancashire Heysham 1 - Operating AGR power station EDF Energy
Heysham 2 - Operating AGR power station EDF Energy
Hinkley Point Somerset Hinkley Point A - Decommissioning of Magnox reactor power station NDA
Hinkley Point B - Operating AGR power station EDF Energy
Hunterston Ayrshire Hunterston A - Decommissioning of Magnox reactor power station NDA
Hunterston B - Operating AGR power station EDF Energy
LLWR Cumbria Operating national LLW disposal site NDA
Oldbury South Gloucestershire Operating Magnox reactor power station NDA
Portsmouth (HMNB Portsmouth) Hampshire Management of equipment and instrumentation that incorporates radioactive materials MoD
Rosyth (HMNB Rosyth Royal Dockyard) Fife Decommissioning of submarine refit facilities MoD
Sellafield Cumbria Operating nuclear chemical facilities (spent fuel reprocessing, fuel fabrication, waste treatment) NDA
Sheffield South Yorkshire Steel smelting Minor waste producer
Sizewell Suffolk Sizewell A - Decommissioning of Magnox reactor power station NDA
Sizewell B - Operating PWR power station EDF Energy
Springfields Lancashire Operating nuclear fuel and intermediate products manufacturing NDA
Torness East Lothian Operating AGR power station EDF Energy
Trawsfynydd Gwynedd Decommissioning of Magnox reactor power station NDA
Vulcan (NTRE Vulcan) Caithness Testing of prototype submarine nuclear reactors MoD
Windscale Cumbria Decommissioning of reactors and support facilities NDA
Winfrith Dorset Decommissioning of reactors and support facilities NDA
Wylfa Anglesey Operating Magnox reactor power station NDA

(1) The organisation with strategic responsibility for radioactive wastes managed on the site.
(2) Although the Culham site is currently owned and operated by UKAEA, the NDA understands that the part of the site occupied by the JET facility will transfer to NDA ownership from the date when JET operation ceases.

Summary information on radioactive waste in

Northern Ireland has no major waste producers.


LLWR disposal site

Existing national repository for LLW arising in the UK