Inside Sellafield: The new radioactive cleanup machine

ITV Border has been given exclusive access inside what's known as the most hazardous building in western Europe. Credit: ITV Border

A 360-tonne machine has been installed at Sellafied, to clean up radioactive waste inside what's described as the most hazardous building in Europe - and ITV Border has been given exclusive access.

The Magnox Swarf Storage Silo facility is home to 10,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste stored in underground chambers, costing the tax payer around £1million a day to run.

The machine has been built to empty the waste out and move it to a new facility on the Sellafield site.

The last nuclear waste was put into the chambers twenty years ago, so why has this next step taken so long to come around?

The Magnox Swarf Storage Silo was built in the 1950's to house the cladding from spent fuel rods from Calder Hall and other nuclear reactors, including Chapel Cross in Dumfries and Galloway.

The new machine inside will sit on rails on top of the 22 chambers, each being the size of six double decker buses.

It will scoop out the radioactive waste, which will then be sent to modern waste stores, awaiting final disposal in the UK's Geological Disposal Facility.

The machine will start moving waste in 2018 and will take around 20 to 25 years to complete.

The new machine will scoop radioactive waste out of the chambers, before it's sent to a modern facility. Credit: ITV Border
ITV Border's Hannah McNulty on top of one of the 22 chambers holding radioactive nuclear waste Credit: ITV Border

The running cost of the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo building is £1million per day.

Along with three other old facilities, the cost uses around one third of Sellafield's annual £2billion budget.

The final bill at decommissioning the site stands at around £80billion over 100 years.

Chris Halliwell from the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo Programme, says they are putting safety first, but are confident the plans represent value for money for the taxpayer:

You can watch ITV Border reporter, Hannah McNulty's news report below: