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.  

 

Highest Hazard Materials Disposed Of At Dounreay

6th August 2016

Photograph of Highest Hazard Materials Disposed Of At Dounreay

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. The liquid metal, a blend of sodium and potassium called NaK, was used to remove heat from the reactor's nuclear fuel.

Dounreay used a specially built plant and removal system to safely convert the NaK to hydrogen gas and salt water. Handling the material is a particularly complex technical challenge as it reacts vigorously when exposed to air or water, eventually catching fire. This meant that it had to be kept under a nitrogen gas blanket to prevent reactions.

Reactors Director, Ken Heider of CH2M Hill, said: "The Dounreay team, in partnership with our supply chain, worked extremely hard over a long time to remove and convert the highly radioactive NaK into safe products. Most importantly, our highly skilled team delivered the work safely and in compliance with our environmental authorisations.

Pete Lutwyche, NDA Chief Operating Officer, added: "This was one of the highest radiological hazards in the NDA estate, as well as a significant conventional safety hazard.

"The difficulty of this task can't be understated, and I welcome the news that this work is complete. Everyone involved should be proud of their achievement."

The bulk removal of NaK was completed in 2012 and, since then, work has been underway to remove the last of the coolant from the pipework and base of the structure. This final stage was extremely challenging because the hazardous material was difficult to access.

Detailed technical solutions, including remotely drilling through parts of the reactor, had to be developed. The team also had to work with outdated original drawings which, as the reactor had been modified over several decades, did not give a full reflection of the plant they were working with.

It is the latest achievement at Dounreay as work progresses on one of Europe's most complex closure programmes. Focus now turns to the removal of around 1,000 breeder elements still in the DFR reactor vessel. This must be completed before cleaning and removing the reactor and its nine kilometres of cooling pipework.

DSRL operates under contract to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Cavendish Dounreay Partnership Ltd (CDP), a consortium of Cavendish Nuclear, CH2M and AECOM. It is funded by the NDA to deliver the Dounreay site closure programme.

To find out more about CH2M Hill see their web site at www.ch2m.com

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

Dounreay Team Begins To Empty Reactor Of Nuclear MaterialThumbnail for article : Dounreay Team Begins To Empty Reactor Of Nuclear Material
Work is underway to retrieve the last remaining radioactive fuel elements that have been stuck for decades inside the iconic Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR).   The experimental dome-shaped nuclear reactor once led the world in fast breeder technology and after it closed in 1977 most of the core fuel was removed.  
Graduating Apprentices "the Future Of The Far North"Thumbnail for article : Graduating Apprentices "the Future Of The Far North"
Eleven young people who have completed their Dounreay apprentice training are "very much a part of the future of the far north." Guest speaker Jamie Stone MP told the audience at the apprentice indenture ceremony that took place last Friday that, as Dounreay continues to decommission, the newly indentured apprentices would be an important part of the area's ability to offer a skilled and innovative workforce.   Dounreay Managing Director and former nuclear industry apprentice Phil Craig added: “I am very proud that we are celebrating yet another group of talented apprentices.  
Companies Set To LINC With DounreayThumbnail for article : Companies Set To LINC With Dounreay
Companies are being invited to LINC together and support Scotland's largest decommissioning project thanks to an innovative new scheme designed to increase the number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) delivering clean-up work at Dounreay.   Up to five companies will be invited to help understand and develop the best proposal for size-reducing all of the machinery and components that will need to be removed from Dounreay's Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) - the largest to be built at the Caithness site.  
Graduates Kick Start Their Career At DounreayThumbnail for article : Graduates Kick Start Their Career At Dounreay
Graduates from as far afield as Portugal and London arrived in Caithness last week to kick start their career at Dounreay.   Ten new recruits have started on the two-year graduate scheme with educational backgrounds as diverse as engineering, law and digital forensics and ethical hacking.  
Dounreay's Oldest Reactor To Be DemolishedThumbnail for article : Dounreay's Oldest Reactor To Be Demolished
It is 60 years this weekend since the first criticality was achieved in Scotland using a test rig at Dounreay.  Now the decommissioning team responsible for the site is marking that milestone by taking a major step towards demolishing the oldest reactor that remains at the former fast reactor research centre.  
Fast Reactors The Caithness Dimension - Film Made In 1994Thumbnail for article : Fast Reactors The Caithness Dimension - Film Made In 1994
This film, produced by AEA Technology in 1994, looks back on the history of the fast reactor development programme at Dounreay..  
A Year Of Hazard Reduction: Making Progress At Dounreay - New Film and BrochureThumbnail for article : A Year Of Hazard Reduction: Making Progress At Dounreay - New Film and Brochure
Progress across Dounreay's decommissioning programme is being showcased in a new film and brochure highlighting the team's successes during 2016-17.   Some of the highest hazards that remained in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority estate, including liquid metal coolant from the Dounreay Fast Reactor, were reduced and destroyed during the year bringing to a successful conclusion projects that spanned many years.  
Register For The Nuclear Supply Chain Event
The biggest networking event in Europe for nuclear decommissioning will be held in Manchester.  2 November 2017.  
Dounreay - The End Planning Phase - Your Chance To CommentThumbnail for article : Dounreay  - The End Planning Phase - Your Chance To Comment
A planning application will be submitted to Highland Council later this year to cover the next phase of planning at the Dounreay site.  Planning permission from 2018 to the shutdown of the site, also known as the interim end state, is the third phase of the planning required for the Dounreay decommissioning programme.  
Up To 200 Jobs To Go At DounreayThumbnail for article : Up To 200 Jobs To Go At Dounreay
The clean-up of the nuclear estate is a key priority for both the Scottish and United Kingdom governments.   Dounreay's decommissioning is well established with the site due to reach an interim end state by the early 2030s.  

[Printer Friendly Version]