Waste Management and Decommissioning

WM&D carries out R&D and provides operational plant support services covering processing of operational and historic wastes, management of liquid and aerial effluents, waste immobilisation of LLW and higher activity wastes (cementation, vitrification), decommissioning, management of radioactive contaminated land and both surface and geological disposal.

Waste & Residues Processing Services – Vitrification

The WPS team comprises thirty technical and operational specialists dedicated to thermal treatment research in support of our customer’s waste treatment and disposition missions. The work we do is split into three main areas:

High Level Waste Vitrification

Our key area of work here is in supporting Sellafield Ltd.’s Waste Vitrification Plants in their mission to optimise production and reduce high active liquor levels through non-active full and laboratory scale research activities. Both technical and operational staff are involved in the maintenance and operation of the Vitrification Test Rig with a supporting laboratory team carrying out analysis and ad-hoc project work direct for customers.


The active Geomelt test rig, housed in the Central Laboratory, is an alternative to cementitious encapsulation and can be used to thermally treat a variety of Intermediate Level waste streams. A team of five are dedicated to working with customers, such as NDA, Sellafield Ltd, MOD etc. to identify potential wastes and then test and optimise operational parameters.

Ceramics & Hot Isostatic Press (HIP)

Wasteform development is a growing area of research for the team owing to the national drive to identify potential disposition forms for problematic wastes. HIP, in particular, is observed as being a front-runner to solving the UK’s Pu stockpile question. A team of three, with other supporting staff where necessary, operate between the Workington and Central Laboratories providing active and non-active laboratory and rig scale development.

Customers: SL – (Waste Vitrification Plants, High Level Waste Plants; Savannah River National Laboratory, Innovate UK, RWM

Facilities: JEOL SEM, Phenom SEM, High Temp viscometer, Thermogravimetric analyser, Array of soxhlet extractors, muffle furnaces, pycnometer, sample (glass) prep facilities, Autoitrator, ovens, image analysis suites, sieve shakers, non-active dry box, ICP-OES, VTR (full scale non-active plant).

Collaborations: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Savanah River National Lab, US DoE, Sheffield Uni, Manchester Uni, Uni of Strathclyde, Innovate UK.