Manufacturing of the first pair of high-precision new Type B (Novapak) Packaging for LLW Repository Ltd under a multi-million pound programme to transport legacy nuclear material by rail to Sellafield has been completed by Cumbrian firm Bendalls Engineering.
Staff from LLWR involved in the programme joined the Bendalls workforce at their Carlisle base to mark the occasion along with representatives from Nuvia, the Packaging Design Authority.
“We have produced this highly-complex product, and I’m delighted with the result,” said Alan Jackson, LLWR Programme Manager.
“It has been a cracking team effort between multiple organisations, from Bendalls to Mott MacDonald, Nuvia, Prima Uno and LLWR staff, working together for a common goal – providing packaging to deliver the NDA’s Consolidation Strategy.
“The Novapaks are intricate to manufacture – for instance, there are over 750 welds, 1500 items of material, 12 welders and over 20 different welding consumables. They have to be substantiated with a huge amount of detail to provide a high integrity package for use in nuclear transport.
“We have ensured the packaging is manufactured fully in line with our Design Safety report that is submitted to Office for Nuclear Regulation for approval as the Competent Authority.
“We’ve been through a lot of LFE (Learning From Experience) with the first pair of Novapaks, which will certainly prove valuable as we proceed with subsequent pairs, ensuring the manufacturing process is smoother.”
Bendalls Engineering will manufacture at least five pairs of the Novapaks, with the second pair expected to be delivered to West Cumbria-based LLWR in May.
Sean Saunders, Bendalls’ Operations Director, said: “It’s a very technically-demanding build so to see the first two built is very pleasing. We know it’s an important asset in the NDA’s wider programme.
“One of the big things about working with LLWR is its collaborative nature. Whenever we faced a challenge, they weren’t heavy-handed, they came to the table and asked how we could work through it together.
“The challenge has been a shared one, and that’s a big part of the success of completing the first two boxes.”
Bendalls, part of the Carr’s Engineering Group, won the contract to manufacture through a competitive tendering process.
The use of Novapaks is associated with the clean-up of intermediate level waste from nuclear decommissioning. They contain an outer packaging providing thermal and main impact protection while inner packaging provides containment.
Each of the high-specification stainless steel packages, around 2m³, will carry four, 200 litre drums of material. LLWR worked closely and collaboratively with Nuvia, which is integrally involved through the manufacturing, operations and maintenance of the packaging.
The Novapaks will replace LLWR’s existing fleet and be in operation for around eight years.