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
Amec Foster Wheeler has been awarded a contract to design and build a new effluent treatment plant at Dounreay. The agreement signals a landmark move for the Caithness site as the first to incorporate socio-economic commitments following the introduction of a new procurement policy earlier this year.
Dounreay has said "you're hired" to ten local newcomers who have started their careers at Dounreay this week. This makes it the 61st consecutive year that apprentices have joined the site.
An off the shelf CCTV camera is providing crystal clear images from the depths of Dounreay's Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR). Fifty years on from the construction of PFR, the reactor decommissioning team is viewing footage that will enable it to pull apart the innards of the second and last fast reactor to be built in the UK.
The last of the higher activity liquid waste produced during Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) fuel reprocessing has been made safe for future generations. It is an important milestone in the immobilisation of the historic liquid waste, known as raffinate, created from reprocessing undertaken during the operation of Dounreay's three reactors.
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.
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