The removal of irradiated fuel is fundamental for the decommissioning of a nuclear plant.
Fuel refers to the fissile material allowing the nuclear reaction to occur within the reactor; after being used and cooled in the pools, the fuel is removed from the plant in highly resistant metallic shielding containers (cask) to be later reprocessed. This process allows the recovery of reusable materials and reduces the 5% of radioactive waste. This residual material is conditioned and reduced in size, thus, ensuring its long-term safe storage.
During the gas-graphite Magnox plant operation period, 125,036 fuel elements have been irradiated, with a total amount of about 1425.5 tonnes of pre-irradiated Uranium. Among these, 22,441 were in site when it was halted. Transports were completed in the early Nineties.
In 1964 and 1979, two fuel reprocessing agreements were ratified between ENEL (former manager of the plant) and the British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL). The fuel was completely shipped to the Sellafield reprocessing plant (UK) between 1966 and 1991.
The residual materials resulted from reprocessing operations will be shipped back to Italy to be temporary stored in the National Repository.