Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP)

The Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) is one of a number of hazardous legacy facilities at Sellafield to be decommissioned as part of the overall Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) estate.

The PFSP contains an inventory of historic radioactive sludge and LLW/ILW solid wastes. It requires a programme of challenging projects to meet the overall goal of removing the radiological inventory from the pond; thereby reducing the hazard/risk posed by the plant in its current state. This will allow subsequent dismantling of residual structures.

RPS has supplied safety support to the PFSP programme for a number of years. We are currently the sole supplier of this service to PFSP via the Design Services Alliance (DSA).

Key details

Project name
Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP)

Sellafield Limited (SL)

Cumbria, UK

Services provided

  • Safety support
  • Optioneering studies
  • Development of safety case strategies
  • Hazard identification
  • Production of safety case summary reports for various project stages
  • Production of radiological safety assessments
  • Production of fire safety assessments (conventional and nuclear)
  • Production of dose models and shielding assessments
  • Production of engineering schedules


The PFSP currently ranks as the 2nd most hazardous pond in the NDA’s nuclear portfolio and 6th most hazardous liability at Sellafield. The facility is over 60 years old and contains significant quantities of radioactive waste materials.

The PFSP vision is to be the first pond on the Sellafield site to be safely emptied to an interim end state, with the aim to:

  • Safely remove hazards from an ageing facility never designed for long term storage.
  • Minimise lifetime cost through accelerated programme end date.
  • Build reputation for development of innovative, flexible solutions utilising existing plant and equipment where possible.
  • Develop transferable skills & knowledge for use on other high hazard facilities.
Pile fuel storage pond (PFSP) - project image.jpg


To meet the project challenges, we have integrated highly skilled RPS personnel into the PFSP project team; allowing collaboration and effective communication with both Sellafield and our DSA partners at all stages of projects.

Our approach:

  • A holistic balance is applied when determining if the risk from an activity is as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). Demonstrating that a short-term increase in radiological risk is ALARP if the benefits for long term radiological hazard reduction can be demonstrated.
  • The use of expert qualitative judgement, supported by peer review, has been encouraged in the development of the safety case and the technical underpinning.
  • Optimising the use of existing plant and equipment and operational arrangements in the selection of hazard controls.
  • Utilising experience gained through other Sellafield high hazard reduction projects and the wider safety assessment community.

Project statistics

pond solids removed.
skips exported.
drums of sludge exported.
of the radiological inventory removed.

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