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Pile Fuel Cladding Silo

The Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS) inside Sellafield is one of the most hazardous buildings in Western Europe, and the oldest legacy storage building on the site. It was commissioned in 1952 to safely store radioactive cladding, without emptying in mind. However there now comes a time to deliver a system that allows Sellafield to retrieve the waste, remove it safely, and dispose of it for good. The project saw Shepley Engineers remove an existing shear wall and install a new shear wall that connected to the existing building to prevent waste escaping. There was also a requirement to install pre-assembled units, as well as steelwork, rails and bogies that a robotic waste retrieval arm and waste transporters will use to operate remotely, cutting a hole in the silo and moving the waste into storage until it can be finally disposed of. A video can be found here, courtesy of Sellafield Ltd: The new wall installed was over 11 metres tall, and 47 steel plates for the exterior were built at Shepley Group members’ West Cumberland Engineering workshop, where it was then galvanized and delivered to site. The holes created lined up precisely to within 1mm, and no holes needed to be re-drilled to complete. Other Shepley Group members contributed cohesively to the project, with PPS Electrical completing the electrical install, and our HVAC team completing the air conditioning work. The key challenge on this project was the implications of Covid-19. The lockdown stopped the project completely in March 2020. Upon returning to site, the cabins had to be ripped out to enable the staff to socially distance and work in a safe, practical and confident way. All delivery partners were working collaboratively to find the best approaches to safe working and were sharing LFE’s in response to the pandemic.

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