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.
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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