“Giant vault for Sellafield’s nuclear waste” (July 2016)

BACK in January 1989 the Evening Mail got a first look at the new £8.6m store at Drigg for low-level radioactive waste generated by British Nuclear Fuels – much of it from nearby Sellafield.

The site was screened by thousands of conifer trees and it took 70 contractors to gouge out an eighth huge hole – Vault Eight – to take an expected five-years’ worth of waste.

Contaminated paper, plastic and metal was put in drums ready to go in 20-tonne steel containers before burial, 20 miles north of Millom.

A report in the Mail on January 26 in 1989 noted: “More than 250,000 cubic metres of earth had to be torn from the ground by huge excavators to create a hole 800ft by 550ft and 16ft deep.

“The result is a roofless building resembling a huge unfilled swimming pool the size of eight soccer pitches.

“A single fork lift truck with tyres six feet high lifts the massive steel containers into place.”

The 250-acre Drigg site was opened in 1939 as a Royal Ordnance factory, making and storing high explosives.

In 1959 the nuclear industry took over and found Drigg’s geology suitable for burying waste in deep trenches hundreds of feet long.

Published: 8 July 2016 3:00PM as posted at http://www.nwemail.co.uk/Giant-vault-for-Sellafields-nuclear-waste-6bdc62b1-31d2-422f-a98d-e5c511a5fc99-ds

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