Vault 9 Container Stacking


Construction of Vault 9, LLWR, UK

In 2008, the Amentum-led team managing the Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) had an urgent task to address capacity issues at the site. With disposal capacity in Vault 8 almost full (approximately 350 container spaces left) and waste arising at a phenomenal rate per year (over 700 containers), immediate action was required to alleviate backlog waste and avoid stalling the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s nuclear decommissioning programme. Construction of Vault 9, incorporating advances in technology, with multiple layers of environmental protection, was accelerated to ensure continued and uninterrupted storage at the Repository. In an unprecedent move, a designated area of the new vault was identified for early completion and handed over to the LLWR Site Operations team in July 2009 to enable storage of low level waste containers under fully regulated Site Licence Conditions, whilst construction of the remainder of the vault continued.

Vault 9 was officially opened on Thursday 29th July 2010 with LLWR employees, civic leaders, local authorities, community representatives, regulators, customers, and other key stakeholders in attendance. It had been delivered safely, within cost and schedule constraints whilst ensuring that exacting regulatory quality requirements were met. At the time it was anticipated the vault would be serviceable for around 10 years, but alternative disposal and waste treatment solutions, pioneered under Amentum’s leadership, have ensured Vault 9 will be operational for considerably longer.

Project Highlights

  • Resolved the UK’s short-term capacity gap for the storage and disposal of Low Level Radioactive Waste, removing one of NDA’s top ten risks in 2009
  • Ran Construction and nuclear operations in tandem by phased release of disposal capacity
  • Implemented a rail delivery system for construction material, avoiding the necessity for a new rail siding, saving £9 million, delivering 95% of construction material by rail and removing 7000 HGV deliveries from rural roads
  • Introduced a holistic planning strategy to ensure long-term disposal capacity at the site
  • Managed the delivery of the planning conditions and constraints, improving stakeholder and community relationships
  • Delivered a highly engineered environmental protection system that was approved by the Environment Agency for the disposal of low level radioactive waste
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