Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 10:52 UK

Work starts on nuclear scrap site

Studsvik nuclear recycling facility design
The facility is due to be completed by December 2008

The UK's first nuclear recycling plant to be based outside an existing atomic facility is being built in Cumbria.

The plant, at Lillyhall Industrial Estate near Workington, will handle 3,000 tonnes of scrap metal a year from nuclear sites all over the country.

After recycling, low level nuclear waste will be taken to the nearby storage facility at Drigg.

Swedish-based Studsvik, which owns the plant, says the operation will be safe and regularly monitored.

A spokesman for Studsvik, which operates similar facilities in Sweden, said it would serve the UK's nuclear industry, whose sites are now being decommissioned under the control of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

'Safe disposal'

He said: "To meet the government's decommissioning targets, new facilities need to be constructed to provide alternative methods for cleaning the materials that will be removed during the decommissioning process.

"Our facility will safely recycle large quantities of valuable scrap metal and also help to ensure that the amount of low level waste that is sent for disposal to Drigg is kept to a minimum.

"The site will process materials and waste contaminated with low levels of radioactivity, which will be brought to the site in specially designed transport containers of similar appearance to normal industrial shipping containers."

All radioactive residues from cutting and cleaning are to be collected and packaged into drums and containers for safe disposal and no radioactive materials will be disposed of on site.

The plant is due to be completed by December.

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