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New licence for Cheshire nuclear site

The Office for Nuclear Regulation has granted permission for the relicensing of two adjoining but previously separate licensed sites in Cheshire to create one enlarged licensed site.

The former Sellafield Limited Capenhurst works site is, from today (30 November 2012), now part of an enlarged site licensed to Urenco UK Limited and operated by a tenant organisation.

This single site will continue to produce enriched uranium, store the bulk of the UK’s depleted uranium and uranium hexafluoride (products which are potentially reusable in the nuclear fuel cycle, dependent on Government policy), and have responsibilities relating to decommissioning and waste disposal.

Most of the Sellafield Limited Capenhurst Works staff have transferred into the new tenant Capenhurst Nuclear Services Limited, a subsidiary of Urenco Limited, to do the decommissioning, uranic materials storage and waste disposal work of the former Sellafield Limited licensee.

ONR has welcomed contractual agreements between the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Urenco Limited for the deconversion of a large stock of legacy uranium hexafluoride (Hex Tails) to a lower hazard uranium oxide.

The licensee plans to do this using its new Tails Management Facility. This is currently being constructed at Capenhurst, with a target to be commissioned in 2015.

ONR understands that the Tails Management Facility will initially focus on the deconversion of Urenco "Hex Tails". The deconversion of the legacy "Hex Tails" from the former Sellafield Limited Capenhurst site is scheduled to start in 2020, meeting a regulatory commitment to ONR as part of the relicensing arrangements.

ONR published an article on its website in April to explain more about the proposals to combine these two licensed sites.