The world’s oldest nuclear waste store has been cut open for the first time. Experts at the Sellafield site in Cumbria have cut the first hole in the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS), a locked vault which was never designed to be opened – which holds radioactive material dating from the 1950s. It is the first of six holes that will allow radioactive waste to be removed from one of the site’s most hazardous buildings. Giant steel doors will cover the holes and seal the radioactive waste inside for safer storage. Preparations have been underway for a number of years, which involved practicing the cutting operation at a full-scale replica test rig in Rosyth, Scotland. The waste retrieval process is expected to start in 2019.
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