Robots Will Take Dounreay's Dome Apart
20th November 2011
Like something out of the Tom Cruise movie War of the Worlds, the Kuka robot has a very important job to do.
The standard industrial robot, built exactly the same as a typical car assembly line robot, will play an integral part in the demolition process of Dounreay's iconic fast reactor.
Removal of the highly hazardous and radioactive breeder slugs is the next crucial step in decommissioning the fifty year old facility.
The robot does the job traditionally undertaken by operators using manipulators whilst working through heavily shielded lead glass windows. The working area is very high in radiation - too high for people to access, so the robot does the job safely and much quicker, lowering the radiological hazards, plus providing consistency and reliability in a highly controlled environment.
The giant orange robot, built by Kuka Robotics UK Ltd, manoeuvres on a static turntable and is pre-programmed to remove the lid of the 500 litre waste drums, swab around the surface checking for traces of radioactive contamination and clean the top of the Magnox flask which stores the drums.
It operates like a giant portable pincer arm and is controlled remotely to maintain a safe, clean and secure process within the breeder packaging plant.
Inactive commissioning will be complete by the end of the financial year ready for the breeder removal operation to begin in summer 2012.
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.
A ceremonial turf cutting ceremony marked the official start of building work on the new archive that will store nuclear records from across the UK. David Flear, chairman of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, dug into the ground at the Wick site where the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's Nuclear Archive will start to take shape over the next 12 months.
UKAEA has been selected to supply the Hot Cell Remote Handling Facility for the new €1.8 billion European Spallation Source (ESS). ESS is currently under construction in Sweden.
DSRL have announced the new managing director designate, Phil Craig. With more than 20 years' experience in the nuclear industry, Phil’s career has focused on supporting the UK nuclear decommissioning, defence and existing power generation sectors.
Twelve students successfully completed the Ready Steady Work course held in early July. The four day course sponsored by DSRL and North Highland College was offered to all senior secondary schools in Wick, Thurso and Farr.
The contract applies to twelve sites throughout the UK managed by the decommissioning company Magnox Ltd as well as the nuclear site at Dounreay in Caithness, Scotland, Radioactive Waste Management Limited's site in Harwell and the Low-Level Waste Repository in West Cumbria. A number of segments make up the contrac.
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