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
A major programme milestone has been achieved with the placement of the first low level waste disposed into the new Low Level Waste Facilities at Dounreay. DSRL were granted planning permission to construct up to six vaults in April 2009.
The removal of trapped fuel elements from the Dounreay Fast Reactor moved a step closer with the successful trial of bespoke equipment to lift off the top plate. Decommissioning the 50-year-old experimental reactor is one of the most technically challenging projects in the NDA estate.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the public body that owns Dounreay and funds its clean up, has published its annual business plan, setting out key tasks for the site licence company DSRL to deliver in the next 12 months. These include: - Decontamination of Prototype Fast Reactor pond to meet regulatory requirements - Completion of construction of new fuel characterisation facilities - Material Test Reactor raffinate immobilisation complete - Continuous improvement in health, safety and environmental performance.
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) estate has measured that over 21% of its spend is with SMEs. This equates to over £330 million spent out of our total annual supply chain spend of £1.7 billion.
A NEW partnership agreement has been signed to develop and deliver training required at the Dounreay site during decommissioning work and help staff gain the qualifications they need to transfer to other employment sectors as the site closure progresses. Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL), responsible for the clean-up and demolition of Britain's former centre of fast reactor research and development, has established a memorandum of understanding with North Highland College UHI and the University of the Highlands and Islands to help close collaboration working and academic links across further and higher education and the nuclear industry.
The regeneration of Wick will be given another boost if the planning committee on 24th March 2015 as expected approve the building of a new Archive Centre for Nuclear records in the UK. The Highland council archive centre currently based at Wick library will also relocate to the new building where it will occupy a small part of it.
Companies are being invited to attend Dounreay's annual Suppliers Day on February 26. The event will take place at The Weigh Inn in Thurso from 1.00pm.
Consultation began on 8th December 2014 on the Draft Business Plan 2015 to 2018 that sets out the key objectives and plans for delivering the NDA priorities over the next three years. The total planned expenditure for 2015/16 is £3.31 billion, of which £2.09 billion will be funded by UK government and £1.22 billion by income from commercial operations.
Public consultation continues on NDA's plan for a nuclear archive at Wick in Scotland. It will house over 70 years' worth of historic information from across UK's civil nuclear industry.
Dounreay's beach monitoring fleet has a new look with the addition of new vehicles - the Metrac H5 all-terrain vehicle (ATV). The H5s are fitted with the same GroundhogTM Evolution monitoring equipment as the current ATVs, so this is a change of looks but not a change of function.
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