A NEW nuclear licence has been granted at the decommissioned Winfrith Atomic Energy Establishment site.

Chief Nuclear Inspector Mark Foy has granted the licence to Inutec Limited, who trade as Tradebe Inutec and who occupy part of the Magnox Limited Winfrith nuclear site.

Radioactive waste treatment and recycling specialist Tradebe Inutec officially acquired buildings at the former nuclear plant earlier this month.

Until then, the firm had operated as a tenant of Magnox under their nuclear licence.

The existing Magnox Limited Winfrith licence has now been revoked and re-licensed to account for the changes.

This latest nuclear licence, which was initially applied for by Tradebe in April 2016, is the first granted by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to an operating facility for 15 years.

Denise Cardenas, Safety Health Environment and Quality (SHEQ) Manager at Trade Inutec said: “We are absolutely delighted that our nuclear site licence has been granted for our Winfrith site in Dorset.

“We’ve been working for many months with the ONR, Environment Agency (EA) and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Magnox Limited and local stakeholders to put in place the arrangements for us to acquire the land at Winfrith and to achieve stand-alone nuclear site licensee status. The nuclear site licence enables us to press ahead at pace with our plans to develop our workforce, skills and capability to create a UK centre of excellence for specialist nuclear waste management, supporting the UK’s nuclear decommissioning mission and delivering value for our customers.

“The site licence will provide a sustainable future for Tradebe Inutec and highly-skilled jobs within the local community.”

Historically, Winfrith was used for research and development within the nuclear industry.

Work at Winfrith supported research at Harwell in Oxfordshire and, during its heyday, there were 2,000 people working there, building and testing reactor designs and testing materials inside them. The last reactor was shut down in 1995.

Today it is being decommissioned, demolished and the land returned to its natural state.

Ms Cardenas said: “We are looking forward to the future and to continuing to build on our partnerships with local stakeholders around the site, our regulators and the broader nuclear industry.”

While Magnox Limited is continuing the decommissioning of Winfrith, Tradebe Inutec will be handling nuclear waste from Winfrith and from elsewhere.

Tradebe Inutec say they are committed to continuing their operations beyond the time Magnox Limited will finish their decommissioning work, which is not expected to be completed until at least 2021.