Development of radioactive effluent management strategies at Sellafield delivers economic and environmental benefits

Impact: Health and wellbeing, Economic, Environmental


The Sellafield site, in Cumbria (UK), is one of the most complex and hazardous nuclear sites in the world. Our research in the Effluent Centre of Expertise has led to the following impacts:
(i) optimised treatment protocols for radioactive reprocessing effluents, allowing Sellafield to achieve a 50 – 90% reduction in actinide discharges during targeted periods of plant operations and significantly reducing alpha radioactivity discharges to the Irish Sea;
(ii) modified sludge management practices within the spent nuclear fuel ponds has reduced radioactivity within the effluent treatment system by between 69% and 95%, with estimated operational savings of at least GBP22,500,000;
(iii) informed biomass control strategies, enabling a 40% increase in fuel retrieval operations from the Pile Fuel Storage Pond (in 2019 compared to 2018), with savings of at least GBP2,400,000.
Impact date1 Aug 201331 Jul 2020
Category of impactHealth and wellbeing, Economic, Environmental
Impact levelAdoption

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Energy
  • Dalton Nuclear Institute
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute