First Generation Magnox Storage Pond

The First Generation Magnox Storage Pond at Sellafield is one of the site’s four Legacy Pond and Silo facilities. We are focused on safely decommissioning these buildings as part of our hazard and risk reduction programme.

First Generation Magnox Storage Pond
First Generation Magnox Storage Pond

Legacy

The Magnox Storage and Decanning Facility was constructed during the 1950s and 1960s as part of the UK’s expanding nuclear programme. Its role was to receive and store irradiated fuel from Magnox reactors, and to remove the fuel cladding prior to the fuel being processed. 

In 1974, a long reprocessing shutdown at Sellafield caused fuel to be stored underwater in the storage pond for longer periods than normal. This resulted in the Magnox fuel corroding in the pond, which in turn gave rise to increased radiation levels and poor underwater viewing. 

This slowed the rate of decanning leading to increased residence times and further fuel corrosion. The plant continued to operate until its replacement, the Fuel Handling Plant at Sellafield, was commissioned in 1986. The final fuel was received into the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond in 1992.

The First Generation Magnox Storage Pond was constructed as an open-air pond. Over the years the pond has accumulated significant quantities of waste materials, sludges from corrosion of fuel cladding, fuel fragments and other debris which has blown into the pond, and skips of fuel.

The First Generation Magnox Storage Pond combines used nuclear fuel, sludge, intermediate level waste and pond water, each of which needs to be safely removed and processed through separate routes.