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Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 19

18th February 2008

Photograph of Dounreay Bulletin - Issue 19

The first phase of decommissioning Dounreay's waste shaft is nearing completion. A final set of boreholes in the toe section of the grout curtain and additional groundwater monitoring boreholes will see the project move a step closer towards isolation of the shaft from the groundwater.

Subject to the weather remaining favourable, an underground grout curtain is expected to be totally complete by end of August, ahead of programme and budget, with all works at the raised working platform to be fully complete by summer. More:

The newest plant to service the decommissioning of Dounreay has successfully treated its first batch of waste. The sodium inventory disposal facility has been designed to cleanse items of residues of the hazardous liquid metal, enabling the items to be consigned safely as waste. It uses the same water vapour nitrogen process which has been so successful in destroying the bulk sodium inside the Prototype Fast Reactor. More:

Dounreay is now closer to destroying one of the largest single hazards left over from the fast reactor research and development programme. A new plant which will remove, treat and destroy liquid metal still remaining inside the landmark Dounreay Fast Reactor has successfully processed the first batch of the radiologically contaminated liquid sodium-potassium (NaK) during active commissioning.

The plant is designed to safely dispose of the coolant using proven means of dissolution, where the NaK is transferred from a highly reactive metal into sodium/potassium nitrate and water.

Fifty-seven tonnes of primary circuit NaK will be processed through the plant, which equates to approximately 360 batches.

A new design authority has been formed for the development of a plant that will deal with the biggest hazard at Dounreay. The proposed intermediate level waste cementation plant, drum and box stores will solidify liquid wastes leftover from the reprocessing of fast reactor fuel and other hazardous items.

The D3900 design authority is made up of an "alliance-type" arrangement between UKAEA and Nukem, employing approximately 48 staff - 13 from UKAEA, 32 from Nukem and three from DGP International, Entech and Lander Group The design authority alliance is based in Warrington, which means working away from home for some staff. Read more at:

The Fuel Cycle Area's laboratory complex is disappearing fast. Over a quarter of the labs have now been shut down, cleaned out and taken apart. They were the main chemical, analytical and materials science laboratories supporting all the other facilities at Dounreay. Lab 75 is the largest of the heavily-shielded laboratories that has so far been cleaned out. See:

Dounreay is recruiting for its next batch of engineering apprenticeships. UKAEA is looking for 6 people interested in starting a four-year training scheme in August, in mechanical, instrumentation and electrical disciplines. Applicants should live within travelling distance of Dounreay, be interested in engineering and have attained school leaver age this summer. More information about the places can be obtained by contacting 01847 802678. Closing date for applications is 13th March 2008.

It's already been cut from 100 years to 25 years. Now, the timescale for cleaning up and knocking down Dounreay has been accelerated to just 90 seconds in a new video showing how the site will look when decommissioning is complete.

The animated flyover shows how the site will disappear over the coming years as more of the fast reactor experiment is cleaned out and demolished. To view the video, go to:

The NDA has announced it will invest 8 million in plans to create the UK's National Nuclear Archive (NNA) in Caithness. Read more at:
See Drawings at


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