NDA - On Fuel Removal From Dounreay
16th June 2011
NDA to seek views on removal of fuel from Dounreay.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is to publish a report about the proposed removal of its nuclear fuel from Dounreay and wants to hear the views of the public.
NDA inherited approximately 100 tonnes of specialist reactor fuel from the UK Atomic Energy Authority after nuclear research came to an end and work started to close down the site.
Options for the fuels range from indefinite storage at Dounreay to re-use in nuclear power stations elsewhere. The NDA's preferred option will be set out in a report later this month.
A final decision on the largest single batch of fuel - 44 tonnes of uranium metal used to breed plutonium at Dounreay in the 1960s and 70s - is expected in September.
Members of the site stakeholder group heard last night the NDA's preferred option is to remove this fuel from Dounreay and reprocess into a form more suitable for either long term storage or re-use in reactors, depending on the outcome of Government policy reviews.
Alex Anderson, head of fuels at site licence company DSRL, said decommissioning of the Dounreay Fast Reactor had progressed to the stage where decisions needed to be made about what to do with the breeder.
"The fuel is being stored securely while we get on with dismantling the rest of the facilities round about them," he said.
"Decisions taken now about the future of the fuel will help us plan for what facilities, if any, we need to retain here in the longer term. This will let us refine the timescale and cost for closure of the entire site.
"If the NDA decides the breeder should be returned to national fuel stocks, we anticipate the first batch being ready to leave the site in January next year for reprocessing at Sellafield.
"Its transfer would be carried out by DRS, the NDA's own transport company and among the most experienced in the world at moving this type of material by train. It routinely takes fuel like this to and from power stations across the UK.
"Breeder makes up just under half the total inventory of fuel inherited by the NDA at Dounreay. Work is continuing with the NDA's agreement on options for the remainder of the fuels."
If the NDA proceeds with the proposal, the far north railway line is its preferred route out of Caithness. DRS, the NDA's rail transport subsidiary, is exploring options for the development of a rail head.
Coppyright NDA and Dounreay site Restoration Ltd
Ten new graduates started their careers at Dounreay this week as the company's graduate development programme entered its second year. Applications to the scheme soared after the success of last year's first ever graduate intake, with more than 200 applications received.
The destruction of one of the highest hazards remaining in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) estate has been completed at Dounreay. Around 68 tonnes of highly radioactive liquid metal coolant was removed from the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) and safely destroyed over a ten year period.
Dounreay held its annual supply chain event this week in the Merlin Cinema, Thurso, with suppliers attending from all over the UK. The site spent a total of £121 million on 306 contracts in 2014/15; with 102 contracts let for more than £50,000 and 5117 transactional purchases made for less than £3,000.
Thanks to the NDAs online Asset Transfer Scheme, Dounreay has acquired a third fire engine. The scheme enables redundant equipment to be re-used and recycled across NDAs estate.
A contractor working on the Shaft and Silo project has been recognised by the prestigious NDA estate Supply Chain Awards. Oxford Technologies Ltd (OTL) won the Ministers Award for their innovative idea to clean out the shaft stub tunnel.
Dounreay has reached a significant milestone following commissioning of the new supercompactor at the Waste Receipt Assay Characterisation and Supercompaction facility (WRACS). The facility has now crushed its 1000th drum of low level waste since the plant's re-start in July.
The latest batch of Dounreay's newly qualified skilled workers were encouraged to make the most of the exciting opportunities and challenges ahead. This year Dounreay's new recruits are the sixtieth group of apprentices in a long line of young people joining the site's highly respected apprenticeship scheme since 1955.
A range of unusual devices have been designed and built by Dounreay's in-house design team over the years. Probing the depths of a former nuclear reactor with remotely controlled equipment isn't a simple process and requires some ingenious thinking.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), in association with the Site Licence Companies (SLCs), invite you to ‘connect and innovate' at their fifth annual event. Entry is free of charge to delegates and exhibitors.
The PFR stone table with the inscription 'Out of Caithness to the World' will become the centre piece of the NDA Archive when it opens its doors in 2017. Construction of the new facility has begun at Wick and was officially opened by David Flear, Dounreay Stakeholder Group chairman, when he cut the first turf at an opening ceremony in August.
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