The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), in collaboration with its subsidiary Nuclear Waste Services (NWS), has awarded two contracts to establish an innovative partnership for the enhanced management of asbestos waste.

The Asbestos Innovation Partnership (AIP) will work with the NDA, NWS and the supply chain, to test and develop new solutions to treat asbestos waste, helping to deliver efficiencies and enable more effective waste management.

The NDA group is tasked with decommissioning the UK’s oldest nuclear sites safely, securely, and cost-effectively. Given the age of these facilities, large quantities of radiologically-contaminated asbestos waste must be managed.

Currently, non-nuclear contaminated asbestos waste goes to hazardous landfill, some contaminated asbestos is allowed in very small quantities in the Low Level Waste Repository, and the bulk is designated for disposal in a future Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

Nuclear Waste Services will now oversee the AIP to look at how legacy and future waste is managed in the most sustainable and efficient way, utilising innovation and technology development. It is projected that by utilising new techniques and reducing use of landfill, the partnership could help realise multi-million pound cost savings.

NDA Chief Commercial and Business Development Officer, Emma Ferguson-Gould, said: "The development of the innovation partnership for the management of asbestos waste is a huge milestone for the NDA group and is equally beneficial for the delivery of NDA’s mission and for the enhanced value this will deliver for the UK taxpayer. Delivering this milestone highlights the benefits of working as one NDA group and our collective enduring commitment to our critical mission. I would like to extend my personal thanks and congratulations to everyone involved in bringing this to life."

NWS Director of Strategy and Integrated Waste Management, Paul Tuohy, said: "We see enormous opportunities to better manage asbestos waste across the NDA group. By establishing the Asbestos Innovation Partnership (AIP) we will work with the private sector to develop new and innovative treatment solutions, accelerating hazard reduction and realising significant cost savings. It is just one example of the collaborative working required to deliver our Integrated Waste Management strategy, in partnership with NDA Sellafield, NRS and our supply chain."

Contracts have been awarded to two consortia which now make up the AIP: 

  • Veolia Nuclear UK Solutions, Cyclife UK Ltd & Waste to Glass sas
  • React 2 consisting of Galson Sciences, and Thermachange

Establishing the AIP demonstrates the NDA delivering on commitments in its strategy in relation to Integrated Waste Management. Namely to drive technology development to deliver a range of suitable treatment routes that enable the effective and optimal management of the variety of wastes in the NDA’s inventory.

It also marks the delivery of one of the key NWS strategy milestones to ensure that the right waste form, in the right package, is managed or disposed of at the right facility.  

Innovation Partnerships are a new procurement approach for the NDA, providing new ways to harness the power and expertise of the supply chain from research and development through to deployment.

The AIP is already receiving recognition having been shortlisted ‘Innovative Commercial Project’ award at the Government Commercial Function (GCF) awards in November.

Publication Date
25 April 2024
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