Dounreay meets target for liquid hazard reduction
4th September 2016
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.
The achievement comes just days after Dounreay announced that all of the reactor's liquid metal coolant had been destroyed.
Dounreay’s Waste Director, Bruce Covert, welcomed the news: "Encapsulation of 232 cubic metres of DFR raffinate is a significant achievement for the whole site, with the material grouted and suitable for long term storage in 875 drums.
"This is a good example of everyone at Dounreay working together as one team to safely deliver one programme, ensuring the project remained on schedule with minimal interruptions."
Nigel Lowe, NDA Head of Programme for Dounreay and Magnox, said: “This is a great milestone in a long line of Dounreay milestones. The team should be very proud of this achievement."
Batches of liquor were remotely transferred from underground tanks to a cementation plant. Here it was neutralised and mixed with cement powder inside 500-litre drums in a remote handling facility, making it passively safe for long-term storage or disposal.
The cementation plant will now undergo some engineering modifications and enhancements before the workforce begin to immobilise the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) raffinate.
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 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 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.
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.
This film, produced by AEA Technology in 1994, looks back on the history of the fast reactor development programme at Dounreay..
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.
The biggest networking event in Europe for nuclear decommissioning will be held in Manchester. 2 November 2017.
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.
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.
A major upgrade and expansion of Dounreay's Thurso town centre office has been completed. David Flear, Chair of Dounreay Stakeholder Group, officially reopened the building which sits at the entrance to the high street and has been the site's public information office for almost a decade.
[Printer Friendly Version]