International consortium UK Nuclear Waste Management (UKNWM) won the 17-year contract to act as Parent Body Organisation (PBO) in 2008.

The contract was the first of its type for site owner Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the nuclear industry as a whole.

The PBO owns the shares in LLW Repository Ltd, the Site Licence Company (SLC), for the period of the contract.

UKNWM consists of AECOM, one of the world’s largest firms in the construction and engineering sector, Studsvik UK, who provide recognised expertise in the treatment and management of nuclear waste and Orano, the world’s largest nuclear service provider.

The PBO acts as a parent company, providing additional resources and management expertise, to carry out the NDA’s mission.

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The contract is split into 3 sections of 5 years and one of two years, with the onus on successful delivery of the objectives laid out in the contract.

The PBO model was designed to improve on-site performance and in its first 5-year term the contract realised savings of £30m, extended the life of the Repository well into the 21st century, reduced volumes of waste bound for the repository by a factor of 3 and seen the opening of Vault 9.

In March 2013 UKNWM was awarded a second 5-year contract. It covered the management and operations of the Repository and the development and implementation of the National Low Level Waste Strategy and runs from 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2018.

In 2018 international consortium UK Nuclear Waste Management was awarded its third 5 year term to operate the LLW Repository on behalf of the NDA. The NDA had awarded the term to LLWR’s Parent Body Organisation on a ‘business as usual’ basis and followed successful implementation and delivery of key commitments in the first two terms from 2008.

LLWR had been granted a revised environmental permit in 2015 to allow continued disposal of wastes at the Repository, and the following year a major planning application, under which a final cap would be constructed over existing and new vaults and historic landfill style trenches, was granted. Under this long term scheme, known as the Repository Development Programme (RDP), the construction of two new vaults and an extension to a third were also permitted.

In addition to RDP, the NDA decision would allow additional important programmes including Security Enhancements and Plutonium Contaminated Materials to continue.

LLW Repository Ltd, which has managed the site near Drigg since July 2007, remains committed to operating the Repository in an efficient and environmentally safe manner, providing a continuing safe option for the disposal of low level radioactive waste in the UK.