BRADWELL Power Station has finished treating radioactive waste as it makes another big step towards being decommissioned.

Site operator Magnox is now preparing the site for the 80 year care and maintenance process.

The power station stopped generating electricity in March 2002, after running for 40 years.

In a programme spanning seven years, hundreds of thousands of litres of radioactive resin and sludge has been made ready for interim storage.

The radioactive sludge was collected from the ponds which stored the site’s spent nuclear fuel during operation.

The resins helped with removing the radioactive content from site’s discharges - making sure they were kept within safe and permitted levels.

Once it had been retrieved, the waste was treated and packaged in self-shielding ductile cast iron containers known as yellow boxes, making it suitable for interim storage in the site’s purpose-built facility.

Carl Harden, Magnox project manager, said: “Completing this work is absolutely critical to getting the site into care and maintenance.

“Our independent nuclear regulators need to be completely reassured that there’s no more waste left on the site which needs to be treated.

“The next step in the decommissioning programme will be to dismantle the operational plant itself.”

Bradwell is one of 17 nuclear sites in the UK owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and will become the first to enter the care and maintenance phase.

During the phase the site is left in a safe condition for 80 years while remaining radioactivity decays naturally.

However, the site’s interim storage facility will continue to receive packaged waste from other Magnox sites in the south east.

Bob Nichols, Bradwell site closure director, added: “This is a fantastic achievement for the site, for the whole of Magnox and for the NDA.

“The work hasn’t been without its challenges, but the lessons we’ve learned will be extremely valuable for the other sites which follow Bradwell into care and maintenance.

“We are now focused on the last few steps to get Bradwell into care and maintenance - completing weatherproofing work on the reactor buildings and removing the remaining ancillary buildings on site. Closing Bradwell during this calendar year is firmly in our sights”.

Magnox originally said the plant would be completely decommissioned by 2015, but this was then re-evaluated to 2019 before being lowered to the end of 2018.