5.1 What we do now?

■ All waste is segregated, and disposed of, depending on nature, contamination and material type.


5.2 What routes do we presently have?

■ Routes include:- Incineration, landfill, decontamination methods, recycling and national repository, discharge of water and gases (this includes radioactive/hazardous and controlled routes)

5.3 What we do in the future?

■ Opening of new routes and forthcoming changes in practice to meet waste acceptance criteria (WAC).

■ UKAEA is currently constructing materials and water detritiation facilities which are leading innovation for the industry and will enable further recycling.

Waste production

Waste produced through construction, repair; maintenance & plant improvements activities; characterisation; H&S activities; general office and catering waste, and site operations.

■ Small amounts of radioactive waste are produced in relation to the JET project, and sample preparation within the Materials Research facility. The main contaminants are tritium and small amounts of short lived activation products

■ Hazardous material is used in small quantities on site and segregated from other waste types

■ Operational non contaminated waste is produced from non- radiological controlled/supervised areas. Waste is segregated and recycled where possible.

■ Construction waste is produced from specific upgrades of buildings/systems and disposed of through construction contract.

Waste Types

What we have

Recyclable – the majority of the operational waste can be recycled, including:- metals/wood/paper/plastic/toners/cables/computers/ electrical etc.

Combustible – PPE, RPE, wipes, overshoes, woods, plastics and liquids (organic).

Non Combustible – this includes machine parts, associated metal work, construction material, tools, equipment contaminated during operations.

http://intranet.ccfe.ac.uk/mansys/pub/cd_p_g90_solid.html (internal use only)

Aqueous waste – produced during operations; tritiated condensate (from abatement system), tritiated water

Liquid disposal flow chart


What we do with it

All waste is streamed/Segregated and characterised (as required) before disposal

Recycled – where possible waste is segregated into recyclable streams.

Combustible – waste is sorted, sampled, analysed volume reduced and packaged, prior to disposal at licensed incineration facility

Non combustible – waste is segregated into material type. This waste is packaged appropriately and sent to a suitable disposal/storage facility.

Liquid waste – Aqueous waste from operational areas is discharged via the Trade effluent system under an EA permit.

Tritiated condensate – is recycled, the tritium removed and the clean water discharged. This has previously been returned to the supplier now a new Water detritiation facility is being built on site to remove the tritium and retained for future use in JET experiments.

Three main waste types – Controlled, hazardous and radioactive

Controlled Waste

This is routine office and industrial waste which is not contaminated with hazardous materials or radioactivity. Skips of operational controlled waste are monitored and weighed before leaving site.

Controlled waste is collected as either operational or office/catering waste.

Operational waste is consigned and collected directly from operational areas – this is then segregated into material types with 90% sent for recycling or energy capture. Where there is no other route, this will be sent to landfill, however this is a very small amount.

Waste includes metal components, Paper and cardboard, rubble and construction material, wood  

■ Office and Catering Waste This waste is collected from kitchens and offices and is classed as general office waste. It is broken down as follows: Food waste generated in the catering facilities – is sent to an Anaerobic digestion plant. The process creates a sludge which can be used as a fertiliser in agriculture.

■ Mixed Recyclable waste – recycling bins are available across site. It is taken to a Materials Recovery Facility where it is sorted and sent for recycling.

■ Non recyclable waste – Waste is put into dedicated skips on site. The waste is taken to an Energy from Waste plant where it is incinerated. The process generates electricity which is used to power the plant and the excess is transferred to the national grid. The ash is used in the construction industry.


As part of the processes on site hazardous materials are used.  These materials which eventually become waste are required to be disposed of via a hazardous waste route. 

■ The most frequently used hazardous material on site is beryllium this is frequently associated with radioactive waste and disposed of through approved routes.

■ All hazardous material is stored within a suitable facility, with reference to the COSHH regulations.

■ When the material becomes waste, separate collections and storage are provided. The waste is collected on a request basis and is segregated from other waste.

■ There is a dedicated hazardous waste storage facility on site, and this is also segregated to prevent cross contamination with other hazardous materials.

■ Staff are carefully trained for dealing with this material, including handling and segregating.

■ All items are listed and categorised based on the Hazardous materials list – Hazardous Waste List)

■ All hazardous waste is disposed of as close to production period as possible, with approximately four disposals per year. This will be a mixed load of solids, liquids and gases.

■ The waste is disposed of through a hazardous waste transfer company to licensed premises.

■ Part of the requirements for disposal of hazardous waste is to carryout a duty of care, to ensure that the waste is disposed of in a suitable manner without harm to people or the environment.

■ Hazardous waste is carefully logged before transfer off site. This is checked by the DGSA to ensure that the correct coding is used. The DGSA will confirm the consignment is compliant before the transport leaves site as well as in the preparation stages.

■ Transport is by licensed carriers only and disposed of to permitted sites.

Radioactive Waste

All radioactive waste is managed in accordance with the Environmental permit (EPR 2016).  All Waste is segregated at source with records generated to demonstrate provenance prior to sampling and analysis for characterisation.  Waste routes are selected in accordance with the Best Available Techniques and Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC).

Types of waste

Re-categorisation – As ‘out of scope’ through sorting, analysis and treatment

Processes on site – On site thermal process; surface removal; volume reduction and size reduction

Combustible waste – including coveralls, gloves, liquid organic which have been in contact/contaminated by tritium during operation

Landfill – materials unsuitable for incineration, &/or with hazardous contamination.

Non-combustible – Components which have become contaminated with tritium, or are irradiated materials.

Off site storage  – waste may have activity/contamination levels in excess of present acceptance criteria for current disposal routes. Intermediate storage is being agreed prior to disposal in the National Waste Facility (GDF)

Organic material – includes oils and relevant liquids.

The majority of radioactive waste on site is of low activity/contamination. Only small volumes of intermediate waste are produced, which is carefully managed to minimise the amount requiring disposal. Processing waste allows for down categorisation such as the thermal treatment of solids- which releases tritium that can be recycled for future use.


Diversion – through segregation and processing, waste is down categorised from radioactive waste. Combustible waste is sampled, analysed and disposal route agreed. All waste must meet the receiving facilities waste acceptance criteria as well as being compliant with legislation.

Non combustible waste – is identified through its provenance. Sampling and Analysis will further characterise the items. Those found to be radioactive will be considered for detritiation through the new materials detritiation facility. Other waste not suitable – Will be sent off site for long term storage/treatment.

Organic waste – is disposed of through the combustible waste routes.

Solid waste flow chart


Aqueous waste comes from a number of sources on site.  General washing in bathrooms and kitchens; water from operational areas; foul drainage; radioactive water from some operations.

Two routes for disposal
Thames Water Sewage system from kitchens and   bathrooms across site.  Some operational areas,   where there is no contamination.

Trade Effluent System
Operational water is discharged from site via a   dedicated system under an EPR permit.  All water   discharged through this route  is sampled and   discharged under controlled conditions to comply   with an EA permit.

■ Low activity water, produced in operational areas is discharged via a dedicated radioactive drain system to the trade effluent system under an EA permit.  All water is carefully sampled and analysed prior to disposal.

■ Higher activity water is treated prior to disposal

■ Operations on site are internally licensed to use the trade effluent/active drain systems to ensure compliance with the permit.

Gaseous Discharge

■ Radioactive discharges are regulated under EPR 2016. The main isotope of importance on site is Tritium.

■ Tritium is discharged under monitored conditions. All stacks have in-line monitoring systems, and there are tritium alarms in and around operational areas.

■ Where higher levels of tritium are found, such as in the JET vessel, the air is passed through an abatement system which removes the tritium and is stored for processing a recycling.

■ Environmental monitoring is continuously carried out on site to ensure that contamination is not leaving the site.

■ Non-radioactive gas discharges are controlled where applicable under the relevant legislation such as greenhouse gases.

■ Link to gaseous discharge flow chart

Materials Research Facility

The MRF will produce samples for materials evaluation to support (future)fission and fusion research.  This is a new facility which will only handle small, mainly metallic specimens, which will be prepared into suitable samples for testing, using the ALARP principles

■ Materials used will have intermediate radioactivity, and will be processed within hot cells.

■ ILW will be produced during the process. The processes in the facility are developed to minimise waste (by process size reduction and sample size reduction). Waste will be will include dust, specimens and cut parts, soft housekeeping waste, polishing and grinding discs, cleaning and maintenance waste – such as wipes, smears. The preparation of this facility includes minimisation of waste through use of small specimens and samples and careful segregation following characterisation. Waste will be packaged and stored in the shielded facility. LLW and other wastes will utilise the present onsite waste routes.

■ ILW will be transferred off site for preparation and final disposal in the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). Waste containers will be combined with other SLC’s waste to exploit unusable volume within an existing store and increase the packing density of the final package.

■ Monitoring and characterisation are key. As with other radioactive waste, the activity will be carefully monitored and controlled to ensure the site permit is not breached.

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