Our heritage

An organisation built on decades of experience. 

The history of NTS can be traced back to the development of civil nuclear power in the UK – a story that stretches back to the 1940s. 

The companies that make up NTS – International Nuclear Services (INS), Direct Rail Services (DRS), and Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd (PNTL) – have their origins in British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL).  

PNTL was established in 1975 to ship spent fuel and other materials between Europe and Japan. It would later become owned by INS. DRS was formed in 1995 to provide spent fuel rail transport services in the UK. 

Fast forward to 2008 when INS and DRS became subsidiaries of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), an executive non-departmental public body responsible for cleaning up the UK’s nuclear legacy. 

In 2021 NTS was launched, bringing the NDA’s transport capabilities together into a single organisation. NTS is a centre of excellence that specialises in the operational, commercial, engineering, legal, and regulatory expertise that underpin nuclear transport and logistics operations. 

We operate DRS and PNTL who continue to deliver rail and shipping activities building on our rich heritage. 

Our timeline


Start of pioneering research at Sellafield 

First Magnox reactor, Calder Hall, opened 


British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) is formed 

Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd (PNTL) is formed: homeport Barrow 


First purpose built ship for PNTL

10 years of PNTL spent fuel shipments 


Thorp reprocessing begins at Sellafield 

DRS is established and starts running low-level waste from Sellafield to Drigg


The start of spent nuclear fuel transports from UK power stations to Sellafield by DRS 

DRS become a subsidiary of the NDA, with INS becoming an NDA subsidiary in 2008


DRS commences the first of many freight services with Eddie Stobarts and Tesco

 First vitrified residue return from UK to Japan 


INS completes the largest removal of nuclear materials as part of a transport from Japan to USA 

NDA’s transport subsidiaries are brought together to create Nuclear Transport Solutions (NTS)