Safe repatriation of High Level Waste from the UK to Germany


Six flasks, each containing 28 containers of HLW in the form of vitrified residues, arrived at the Federal interim storage facility in Germany on 04/11/2020.

This was the first of three planned shipments of HLW from the UK to Germany.

The waste results from the reprocessing and recycling of spent nuclear fuel at the Sellafield site in West Cumbria, which had previously been used to produce electricity by utilities in Germany.

The Vitrified Residue Returns (VRR) programme, a partnership between Sellafield Ltd and International Nuclear Services (INS), is a key component of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) strategy to repatriate highly active waste from the UK, fulfil overseas contracts and deliver UK Government policy.

Sellafield team prepare flasks for return to Germany

INS, a subsidiary of the NDA, performed the shipment, in full compliance with all national and international regulations, drawing on more than 40 years’ experience of transporting nuclear materials safely and securely around the world.

The waste was transported by rail from Sellafield to the port of Barrow-in-Furness then by specialist vessel Pacific Grebe to a German port, then by rail to Biblis. INS contracted with its specialist German partner Daher Nuclear Technologies GmbH (DNT) to safely manage the overland transport in Germany.

Sellafield Ltd’s VRR programme manager Jonathan Clingan said:

Thanks to the excellent joint work of various teams at Sellafield, INS and other partners in the UK and overseas, we have safely delivered another key milestone in the UK government strategy to return high level waste to customers.


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