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Sellafield: challenges in designing a safe facility for future generations

Event organised by ICE

21 March 2024
18:00 - 19:30 GMT

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This webinar will explore two aspects: the Sellafield site earthquake liquefaction assessment; and civil engineering challenges in decommissioning the Sellafield site.

Sellafield site earthquake liquefaction assessment:

Nuclear safety-related structures in the UK, such as those located at Sellafield, are required to resist extreme hazards – including those associated with 1-in-10,000-year earthquakes. Earthquakes can create liquefaction, therefore this is a hazard which needs to be considered on nuclear sites in the UK.

A seismic liquefaction vulnerability assessment was completed in 2022, providing up-to-date results and comparing those with the same assessment that was carried out in the 1980s. This presentation will discuss the methodology used in the 2022 study, present its results and conclusions, and compare findings with the 1980s study.  

Civil engineering challenges in decommissioning:

Sellafield are responsible for the complex task of decommissioning the Sellafield site to create a clean and safe environment for future generations.

To achieve this goal, historic facilities are being modified and becoming operational once again to retrieve waste for safe long-term storage. This has led to a short-term increase in risk, such as the introduction of new machinery and equipment increasing the load being applied to an aging structure. Long-term, there is a high hazard risk reduction associated with getting the waste into safer storage. This presents civil engineers with a unique set of challenges.

This part of the presentation will outline some of the challenges faced on one of Sellafield’s most hazardous facilities. 


Angelo Farnetano

Angelo Farnetano

Sellafield Ltd

senior geotechnical engineer

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Angelo Farnetano

Angelo Farnetano is a chartered civil engineer in Italy and the UK, and is currently working as the principal geotechnical engineer at Sellafield. He has more than 10 years’ experience in structural and geotechnical design.

Angelo has been involved in many projects, including major infrastructure projects both in the UK and abroad.

He has been a member of the Sellafield Geotechnical, Seismic and Extreme Hazard team since 2019, providing design capability and expert advice for the facilities being constructed at Sellafield.

Helen Wild

Helen Wild

Magnox Swarf Storage Silos

civil engineer

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Helen Wild

Helen Wild is a chartered civil engineer with over 11 years’ experience in civil and structural engineering within the nuclear industry in a variety of roles. She has undertaken both design and construction roles on a range of complex projects including major new build plants, smaller scale projects on existing plants and delivery of substantiation work on legacy facilities. 

In her current role, she is the civil, structural and architectural responsible engineer for Magnox Swarf Storage Silos, and has recently been awarded the Smeaton Medal.