The UK's main facility dedicated to the safe and efficient disposal of low level radioactive waste has reinforced its partnership with Cooper Handling Group after awarding the company a new five-year contract to maintain its mobile site equipment.
LLW Repository (LLWR) manages the national Low Level Waste Repository in West Cumbria on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and oversees a national programme to ensure that lower activity waste is managed effectively across the UK.
The relationship with Cooper was first established in 2013 when its heavy lifting division, Cooper Specialised Handling, won a prestigious contract to supply LLWR with three 42-1200B Konecranes forklift trucks. Now, maintenance arm Cooper Solutions has secured a five-year contract for all of LLWR's mobile site equipment.
Iain Irving, Head of Site at LLWR, said: "Cooper has a wealth of expertise in our industry and we know we can rely on its team to specify materials handling equipment that is best-suited to working in a difficult environment and ensure it is properly maintained so that we get optimum performance from our fleet."
The original Konecranes machines supplied by Cooper replaced LLWR's existing equipment and the contract was awarded under full OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) conditions. During the intervening years, Cooper has not only met LLWR's requirement for extra equipment, but has also implemented a full maintenance programme at the facility near Seascale.
The additional machines - a Konecranes 16 tonne truck and two 12 tonne forklifts - were customised to satisfy the demands of the nuclear industry and incorporate site specific options designed to improve safety and driver comfort while also promoting equipment longevity.
Maintenance support covers not only the Konecranes equipment but LLWR's entire rolling fleet totalling 30 assets. To ensure the right level of support, Cooper Solutions has committed a dedicated engineering resource to the site along with a management team to support its field engineers on short term contracts.
Chris Barnes, General Manager at Cooper Handling Group, says: "Our specialist team of engineers and managers is completely focused on understanding the specific challenges associated with the handling of nuclear waste and meeting customer requirements and we challenge ourselves to push the boundaries to innovate in this sector.
"This latest contract with LLWR cements our position as its preferred partner and reinforces our credentials as the leading supplier of specialised handling equipment and maintenance support for the nuclear industry."
Typically comprising paper, cardboard, plastic, protective clothing, soil, rubble and metal that has been used in radioactive operating environment, low level waste undergoes treatment and is sometimes compacted prior to being loaded on to containers for transport. These containers are then grouted and transferred to engineered concrete vaults for long-term storage.