When the site was a Royal Ordnance Factory concrete bunkers (magazines) were constructed to store munitions e.g. TNT. During the 1950s and 1960s PCM was stored in some of the magazines.

During the 1990s modern facilities were constructed to facilitate the removal, repackaging and transport of the waste for safe storage in modern purpose built facilities at the Sellafield Site.

A programme to decommission these magazines was launched in 2008, with the objective to demolish them and to remove all legacy drums and generated PCM waste drums from the LLWR site, in a safe, cost-effective and timely manner.

Members of the PCM team
Members of the PCM team

Managing this PCM legacy issue is a priority for the site and an Accelerated Decommissioning Programme commenced in 2013, cutting the 10-year schedule of work to 6 years, saving £20m in the process, with the continued support of the NDA and Decommissioning and Demolition Framework partner NSG – who have developed the workforce and brought skills in-house.

The aspiration is to complete the programme in 5 years, which would save a further £13m. Challenges remain for the PCM Decommissioning Programme if it is to continue its current impressive level of progress, although the team has overcome all obstacles to date.

Magazine 4 was fully decommissioned in 2013 and two years later, its Retrieval Facility was demolished. Decontamination work continues on four further magazines.

The decommissioning and demolition of the magazines will provide an area of cleared land with sufficient space for the development of a further 5 disposal vaults of a similar size to the existing Vaults 8 and 9 and will also make available on-site materials (soil, aggregates and concrete rubble) for use in future construction works.