Radioactive Waste Storage and Handling Tools

We combine remote handling and waste treatment technologies with our experience in nuclear construction


The JVP formed by ANSALDO NUCLEARE (Leader) and MELONI Tecno-Handling is supplying the following to Nuvia limited UK (formerly NUKEM UK Ltd):

a)   one handling Crane designed, manufactured and tested according to KTA norms (double girder overhead travelling crane, capacity 15 t, span 4,35 m), complete with on-board electrical instrumentation and manual control (designed and manufactured by MELONI);

b) Grabbing tools designed, manufactured and tested according to KTA norms (Fuel bundle grab, overpack grab, storage basket/cask primary grab, associated park stands);

c)   Control and Supervision System  designed, manufactured and tested according to KTA norms (FIHC PLC Control Panel, Fuel Storage Area viewing window Operator Control Desk, Seal Hatch viewing window Operator Control Desk, Auxiliary Plant MCC Control Panel suite, FIHC Cask Bogie Local Control Panel, FIHC/Unbolting area Personnel Access Key Interlock System, Cask Storage Hall Personnel Access Key Interlock System, Gamma Interlock Monitoring System, FIHC Control System Software);

d) integrated tests performed according to KTA norms in a dedicated tower replying real dimension of the Hot Cell

The FIHC Handling system is part of the Interim Spent Fuel Store facility which is used to store casks containing spent fuel bundles and fuel bundle overpack sleeves (i.e. lidded canisters containing mechanical damaged fuel bundles). It provides the required handling functions within the Fuel Inspection Hot Cell area to enable casks to be brought from the cask storage hall to the hot cell via a cask service station (where cask preparation is undertaken) and also, to allow the individual fuel bundles or overpack sleeves to be removed from the old casks, inspected and re-stored into the casks containing the new 32M basket.


MSSS SEP Machines


Sellafield is the most complex nuclear facility in Europe. With over 1,000 separate buildings, the grounds contain experimental nuclear reactors, fuel reprocessing plants and nuclear storage facilities. Located in West Cumbria, this is Britain's legacy in harnessing the limitless power of the atom. 

Within the Sellafield grounds is the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo (MSSS), which was built over 50 years ago. This aging storage plant was meant to be a temporary facility, storing Magnox swarf underwater. However, after multiple expansions, Sellafield is now left with 22 underwater MSSS silos containing an estimated 11,000m3 of miscellaneous intermediate level nuclear waste.

Our Solution

Today, the MSSS is one of Sellafield's most hazardous buildings, and  Ansaldo Nuclear Ltd has taken on the challenging of moving, conditioning and encapsulating the waste from these silos. Since 1996, Ansaldo Nuclear Ltd has designed and engineered three Silo Emptying Plants (SEP) to deal with this historical intermediate level waste. Following a long lifecycle testing process at our Wolverhampton site, the SEPs are built and commissioned with installation ongoing. They work by lowering specialist grabs underwater to retrieve and safely package the nuclear waste, and one of the site's modern stores will then house this waste.

Each SEP weighs approximately 500 tonnes and contains over 13,500 parts. The SEPs will be delivered to Sellafield as 30 separate modules before being reconstructed, which is a delicate operation due to the limited space in the facility. The machines will need to work first time, and operate continually for up to 25 years with minimum maintenance.

Our innovative tools

Remotely transporting nuclear waste isn't new, but the tools we use are. Here are some examples of the bespoke tools we have engineered:

  • Hoist and hose unit (stores enough rope without it twisting or corroding)
  • Silo rake
  • First stage deployment (FSD) unit
  • Second stage deployment (SSD) Unit
  • Heavy duty hydraulic manipulator (a servo-hydraulic robotic arm)
  • Transfer bogie
  • Thermocouple cropper

Water jet cutting for poles and drums

ISPRA LLW Containers

The activities realized by Ansaldo Nucleare within this project are the following:

  • Design and supply of prototypes CP5.2 (prismatic containers as indicated by norms UNI 11196 for category 2 waste based on the classification UNI 10621) made of carbon steel.
  • Edit supporting documentation for qualification (qualification plan, control quality plans, testing procedures, test report, temporary plan of work, analytic evaluation and calculations procedure, etc…)
  • Qualify the Final Waste package based on the norm UNI 11193 for  management of the waste type R (solid heterogeneous). This activity is divided into the following phases:
  • CP 5.2 Container qualification;
  • Waste form qualification;
  • Structure qualification;
  • Life records dossiers.

The FWP are classified as IP-2, based on IAEA standard. The waste to be conditioned in the cement matrix are metals generated from the decommissioning of the bituminised drums, technological waste, cement bulk materials from the demolition of contaminated civil works. 

The qualification plan was sent both to Sogin (final recipient of the waste) and ISPRA Security Authority for approval.


Sellafield In-Cell Crane Framework

​The Sellafield Ltd Lifetime Plan 2014 identified a number of projects to be delivered across the Sellafield site.  This demand profile focused specifically on the provision of high integrity In-Cell cranes.

Ansaldo Nuclear Ltd was chosen as the winning tenderer to enable Sellafield Ltd's Major Projects and Decommissioning portfolios to deliver their missions.  This was the first procurement to be tendered by Sellafield Ltd using the principles of Category Management and resulted in a (approx..) 10 year contract to deliver the following scope and definition.

In Cell/cave cranes – gantry (overhead) cranes designed for use in highly active areas of the business where physical human interaction in operations and maintenance is not possible.
The contract for in cell cranes (up to 34 in total) has been awarded to Reel/Ansaldo Nuclear Ltd, an international joint venture. The cranes will be partly manufactured at the Ansaldo Nuclear Ltd site in Wolverhampton. We will use our facility at Beckermet, in Cumbria, for crane testing and personnel training, which will result in the creation of new jobs.