First HLW repatriation transport from the UK to Germany completed safely and exactly on time


GNS is commissioned by the German nuclear power plant operators to safely return all residues from the reprocessing of German fuel elements abroad. The first of three shipments of vitrified HLW from the UK to Germany has now been completed successfully. Six casks of the type CASTOR® HAW28M, each containing 28 canisters of HLW in the form of vitrified residues, arrived at the Federal interim storage facility in Germany on 4 November 2020 after more than one week en route exactly within schedule.

The waste results from the reprocessing and recycling of spent nuclear fuel at the Sellafield site in West Cumbria, which had previously been used to produce electricity in Germany. The casks were transported by rail from Sellafield to the port of Barrow-in-Furness, by specialist vessel “Pacific Grebe” to the German port of Nordenham, then by rail to the interim storage facility in Biblis, which is owned and operated by the Federal BGZ Gesellschaft für Zwischenlagerung mbH.

GNS cooperated with International Nuclear Services (INS), part of the UK Government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority NDA for the entire project management. INS contracted with German specialist Daher Nuclear Technologies GmbH (DNT), to safely manage the overland transport in Germany.

The repatriation transport was originally planned for the spring, but had to be postponed due to the emerging COVID 19 situation. In order to realise the transport also under the conditions of the COVID 19 pandemic, the participating companies and institutions have developed comprehensive precautionary concepts and hygiene rules for all phases of the transport.