LLWR is the UK’s national repository for the disposal of LLW and is one of 17 sites owned by the NDA.
The site includes the main disposal area, railway sidings and waste reception area, a grouting facility, office accommodation and ancillary facilities.
The facility has operated safely as the nation’s low level radioactive waste disposal facility for over 50 years and more than £100 million has been invested in the infrastructure of the site over the past decade to maintain it as an important asset for the UK.
As the nation’s principal disposal facility for LLW the site, covering around 110 ha, it is the only facility that is permitted to receive all categories of LLW from across the UK.
In accordance with the application of the waste hierarchy, LLWR encourages the use of alternative options of re-use, recycling, or other means of disposal where practicable.
In line with the NDA’s statutory duty to operate the facility as the national repository for LLW, there is a requirement that the site should receive all consignments of waste for which no such alternative exists provided that the waste meets the facility’s Waste Acceptance Criteria and radiological capacity constraints.
Through the National Waste Programme the LLWR Site receives low-level solid waste from a range of customers, such as the nuclear industry, the Ministry of Defence, non-nuclear industries, and educational, medical and research establishments.
Most of the waste, typically comprising paper, cardboard, plastic, protective clothing, soil, rubble and metal, arrives at the site in large metal containers.
The great majority of waste is delivered to the site by rail and it is anticipated that this will continue to be the case over the long term future although access by road will need to be maintained, particularly for items that are too large to be transported on the rail network. In order to make best use of the available transport networks LLWR operates its own railway sidings. On receipt at the LLWR, the containers are subjected to acceptance checks to ensure compliance with the LLWR Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC). The LLW is then grouted in the containers prior to disposal in engineered concrete vaults.
Click on the numbers to find out about the different areas of the site
Waste arrives in containers by rail and road. It is checked and unloaded at the receipt area on the Rail Sidings. The rail sidings is the transport hub for the import of construction materials and export of waste materials.
Following receipt, containers are transferred to the Grouting Facility where each container is filled with grout to create a solid structure, suitable for disposal in our vaults.
Before construction of the vaults, waste was disposed of in a series of lined trenches. The site has seven trenches, which have been covered with an interim cap to reduce water entry and to prepare the site for closure. Routine environmental monitoring of the trenches continues to take place
Once the grout has set, the container is transferred to the Vaults for storage and disposal. Here it is stacked alongside other containers in a similar arrangement to a container port.
Vault 9 provides additional capacity to meet the UK's low level waste management needs. With advances in technology, the new vault, with its multiple layers of protection, provides enhanced low level waste storage and disposal.