EDF Energy has been given approval to start using its new GBP200m ($246m) dry fuel store at the Sizewell B nuclear power plant in the UK.

Approval was received from   the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) on 21 December, two months after EDF submitted details of the precautions it would take to safely operate the facility. The company started planning the new store five years ago after it became clear that the existing facility, which stores highly radioactive used fuel under water, was nearing capacity.

Under current Government policy all used nuclear fuel and other high level radioactive waste will eventually be deposited in an underground store drilled deep into the rock at a site yet to be identified. Meanwhile, EDF is having to make contingency plans in the event of such a facility not being available.

The new Sizewell B store has the capacity to hold all the used fuel from the remainder of the expected 60 years of operation of the power station.