The Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) was built in 1948/50 to treat materials from the Windscale Piles. Multiple operational regimes over the intervening 60 years have resulted in a complex inventory of spent nuclear fuels, solid and liquid intermediate level wastes. A coordinated programme of work, designed to retrieve and safely dispose of the pond contents, has been implemented to enable the decommissioning of the facility.

The long period of passive storage operations which preceded the implementation of the programme meant that the operator was faced with a dual challenge of providing new technical capability and changing a working culture that was inappropriate for the dynamic environment required to successfully deliver the programme.

It was recognised that the nature of the programme meant that implementing a standard manufacturing approach to operations would not be appropriate. In order to create a dynamic retrievals focussed working culture, the operator has vigorously embraced change programmes aimed at improving a number of working practices including encouraging innovation, managing integrated but flexible production schedules, and encouraging workface problem solving.

The combined impact of beginning to resolve the technical challenges and focussing on the delivery culture has resulted in the facility making a step change towards becoming fully retrievals operations focussed.

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