Pile Fuel Storage Pond

The Pile Fuel 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.

Pile Fuel Storage Pond
Pile Fuel Storage Pond


The construction of the Pile Fuel Storage Pond at Sellafield started in 1948 and the facility was commissioned in 1952. It was constructed to receive, cool and decan fuel from the Windscale Piles, prior to reprocessing.

The facility was modified in the mid-1950s to allow the receipt of spent Magnox fuel from the Calder Hall reactors.

The pond and adjoining decanning building provided the storage and cooling facility for used fuel and isotopes from the two Windscale reactors.

The pond is a sub-divided outdoor storage pond containing skips of irradiated fuel. The building contains a series of sub-ponds, otherwise known as bays, connected underwater to the main pond.

Following the closure of the Windscale Pile reactors and the commissioning of the First Generation Magnox Fuel Storage Pond, plant operations were scaled down, although the facility was still used as a cooling and decanning facility for some materials.

When decanning in the plant stopped in 1962 the pond continued to be used as storage for fuel, contaminated items, and operational waste.

During its working life the pond processed 2,100te of pile fuel and 300te of Magnox fuel. All operations in the pond ceased in the 1970s.

The Pile Fuel 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