Inside Sellafield's death zone with the nuclear clean-up robots - BBC News https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46301596
It is a dangerous job that will take decades to complete and require a great deal of engineering ingenuity and state-of-the-art technology - some of which hasn't even been invented yet.
The post-operative clean out at Thorp is due to take three years, but the entire decommissioning process will take decades.
In the meantime, the plant will continue to serve a purpose.
For the next few years, one of its ponds will be used to cool and store used nuclear fuel - though that fuel will not be reprocessed.
Final demolition is expected to take place between 2075 and 2095, with the overall decommissioning bill forecast at £4bn at today's prices.
But that isn't the end of the matter.
Thorp leaves behind thousands of steel canisters filled with a glassy mixture of high level wastes - the by-product of years of reprocessing. Their contents will remain intensely radioactive for thousands of years.
End of reprocessing at Thorp signals new era for Sellafield - GOV.UK
The last piece of nuclear fuel was ‘sheared’ (where nuclear fuel is cut into pieces at the beginning of the reprocessing cycle) at Thorp (Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant) last week, and marks one of the final steps in Sellafield’s transformation towards becoming a site that is solely focused on decommissioning and hazard reduction.
Nuclear Energy Minister, Richard Harrington, said:
This marks a new and welcome chapter in Sellafield’s decommissioning and environmental clean-up journey, protecting the public from hazards, ensuring the land can be re-used in the future.
In 2012, the decision was taken to end reprocessing at Thorp by 2018, once the current reprocessing contracts were complete.
It was the second reprocessing plant built at Sellafield and, at the time, was one of the largest and most complex construction projects in Europe, rivalled only by the Channel Tunnel and Disneyland Paris. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/end-of-reprocessing-at-thorp-signals-new-era-for-sellafield
Huge radioactive leak closes Thorp nuclear plant | Society | The Guardian
A leak of highly radioactive nuclear fuel dissolved in concentrated nitric acid, enough to half fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, has forced the closure of Sellafield's Thorp reprocessing plant.
The highly dangerous mixture, containing about 20 tonnes of uranium and plutonium fuel, has leaked through a fractured pipe into a huge stainless steel chamber which is so radioactive that it is impossible to enter. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/may/09/environment.nuclearindustry
Appeals court issues final ruling allowing DOE’s termination of MOX project - News - The Augusta Chronicle - Augusta, GA https://www.augustachronicle.com/news/20190108/appeals-court-issues-final-ruling-allowing-does-termination-of-mox-project