Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Paying too much for broadband? Move to PlusNet broadband and save£££s. Free setup now available - terms apply. PlusNet broadband.  

 

Dounreay Prototype Fast Reactor Coming Apart

17th January 2007

Photo Gallery

Photograph of Dounreay Prototype Fast Reactor Coming Apart

Work to pull apart Dounreay's Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) is rapidly advancing with more and more large items of redundant equipment being ripped out of the former reactor complex as the plant is dismantled.

Dounreay is at the leading edge of world-wide clean-up of former nuclear facilities, and as demolition progresses removal of massive and extremely heavy steel structures presents a challenging task to the site.

This phase of pulling apart the plant has seen the removal of the largest amount of steelwork from the facility since decommissioning began and has resulted in the first visible external impact of the reactor demolition by leaving a noticeable gap on the Dounreay skyline.

This 1m project is major progress for PFR. The project involves the strip-out of the steam generating building and the three secondary sodium circuits, with the associated redundant plant and equipment being removed for disposal. One of the major items size reduced and removed was the twenty-seven metre high main steam stack, weighing thirteen tonnes, which was cut into five sections using the 'PetroGen' hot cutting technique. These sections were carefully and slowly raised through the roof of the former turbine hall, using the tallest crane since the construction of the
facility forty years ago, towering some 126 metres over the steam generating building. The two remaining forty tonne steam boilers were also size reduced and removed.

A pioneering cold diamond wire cutting technique is also being used to size reduce the eight thirty-two tonne secondary circuit heat exchanger tube bundles. The diamond wire resembles a thick diamond encrusted cheese slice, which drives its way through lumps of redundant steel with minimal waste generation as no coolant is required to cool the wire.

John Lehew, head of the site decommissioning programme, said: "This is another historic milestone in the restoration of the Dounreay site on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Removal of redundant equipment from our plants is crucial to enable the decommissioning programme to proceed. UKAEA's project manager, Rashid Abdulla, and his team, have worked extremely hard to ensure the safe and successful stripping out of this area in order to proceed with the redundant plant dismantling."

Following its shutdown in 1994, PFR is undergoing a 30-year decommissioning programme. The facility presents hazards associated with forty year old construction materials, heavy plant and specialised mechanical equipment, combined with radiological issues and the major hazards associated with removal of the sodium liquid metal coolant.

Dr Jim McCafferty, PFR decommissioning manager, has paid credit to Nukem Ltd, Baker Dougan Ltd, Caithness Scaffolding (Contractors) Ltd, Sureclean and Hugh Simpson (Contractors) Ltd, who were all involved with this work: "This is a great team effort, UKAEA and its contractors have worked tirelessly to ensure the safe stripping out of this area in order to proceed with dismantling the PFR facility."

Note
PFR operated for twenty years from 1974 until 1994. 1500 tonnes of liquid sodium metal was used as the coolant to transfer the heat from the reactor core through to the three secondary circuits to a steam-generating plant for electricity production. All the nuclear fuel was removed from the reactor following its closure and the next phase of decommissioning is to complete the disposal of the remaining sodium using the revolutionary Water Vapour Nitrogen process (WVN) process following the destruction of the majority of the sodium via the sodium disposal plant. PFR had the dual role of providing power to the national grid and offering unique research and development facilities. PFR provided information for the future design and operation of large commercial fast reactor stations and had an electrical output of 250 MW, which was enough electricity to supply a city the size of Aberdeen.

See more Dounreay photos

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

Radiation dose to public from Dounreay reducesThumbnail for article : Radiation dose to public from Dounreay reduces
Dounreays radioactive impact on the environment continues to fall, according to a report.  The annual survey report Radioactivity in Food and the Environment (RIFE 2012) has recently been published and it can be read here - http://www.sepa.org.uk/radioactive_substances/publications/rife_reports.aspx The report uses data obtained from samples of air, fresh water, grass, soil, and locally sourced meat, fish, milk and vegetables during 2012.  
57,000 Tonnes Of Hazardous Materials Finally Dealt With At Dounreay
Dounreay today completed the destruction of one of the most hazardous legacies of Britain's earliest atomic research.  A purpose-built chemical plant processed the last of 57,000 litres of liquid metal lifted from the primary cooling circuit of the experimental fast breeder reactor.  
Dounreay Dome Paint Job ScrappedThumbnail for article : Dounreay Dome Paint Job Scrapped
Bosses at Dounreay agreed that they won't now be spending 500,000 on a repaint of the sphere.   They money saved will go instead towards actual decommissioning work.  
Clean-up Reveals 6000 Years Of Human HistoryThumbnail for article : Clean-up Reveals 6000 Years Of Human History
Getting rid of Britain's 20th century experiment with fast breeder nuclear reactors is illuminating the history of human settlement on Scotland's north coast stretching back 6000 years.   Archaeologists hired as part of the closure of the nuclear site at Dounreay have pieced together the legacy left by previous generations who occupied the site as long ago as 4000BC.  
New Report Lists Radioactive Wastes At DounreayThumbnail for article : New Report Lists Radioactive Wastes At Dounreay
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has published the latest edition of the UK's radioactive waste inventory.   This sets out the type and volumes of radioactive waste at sites such as Dounreay, as of April 1, 2010.  
Nuclear Shutdown Cash Boost For School Skills
Cash from the closure of the fast reactor site at Dounreay is set to breed a new generation of engineers and scientists in the Scottish Highlands.   The money from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will fund half the cost of a 50,000 project to increase the number of school-leavers skilled in science, technology, engineering and maths.  
New Vaults Signal Start Of Waste ClearanceThumbnail for article : New Vaults Signal Start Of Waste Clearance
The clearance of tens of thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste from the redundant nuclear site at Dounreay today moved a step closer.   Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd announced the formal award of a contract to develop a disposal site for low-level waste from the decommissioning and closure of the site.  
Ex UKAEA Boss Appointed To Crown Estates Board
THE CROWN ESTATE REAPPOINTS CHRIS BARTRAM, AND APPOINTS DIPESH SHAH OBE AND ANTHONY WHITE AS NON-EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS The Crown Estate has announced yesterday, 22 December 2010, the re-appointment of Chris Bartram and the appointment of Dipesh Shah and Anthony White as Non-Executive Board Members.   Chris Bartram, who has held the appointment as Crown Estate Board Member for four years has been reappointed for a further four year term with effect from 1 January 2011.  
Dounreay Boss Welcomed Funding Announcement
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd recently welcomed an announcement about how much public money will be available to continue nuclear clean-up in the UK.   DSRL manages the closure of the site on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which today confirmed that its total expenditure, including income generated, would be maintained at current levels of around 3bn a year.  
French Nuclear Experts At Dounreay
Four experts from the Autorit de Suret Nucleaire, the French nuclear safety inspectorate, spent a day at Dounreay discussing the decommissioning of alkali metal cooled fast reactors.   The visit was hosted by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate as part of international collaboration over nuclear health and safety matters.  

[Printer Friendly Version]