Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  

 

Breeder element removal tool installed in fast reactor

24th December 2008

Photograph of Breeder element removal tool installed in fast reactor

A versatile remotely-operated machine that will cut the heart out of Dounreay's fast reactor has been installed in the sphere.

The retrieval cell is a highly engineered tool that will reach down inside the reactor vessel and remove the remaining breeder elements in a delicate and precise operation.

The retrieval cell mast towers 27ft above the floor of the sphere. It is bolted onto the top of the retrieval cell, which in turn is bolted onto the rotating shields covering the reactor. The cell houses a series of specialist tools purpose built for the removal job.

The tools will be used to remove each 8ft element from the reactor core. It is an extremely hostile environment - the highly active elements are coated with volatile liquid metal at temperatures of fifty degrees centigrade.

Many of the elements are expected to be warped and distorted or swollen, and will have to be cut out of the reactor core before they can be removed.

Once free of the core they will be lifted into a flask and transported via a transfer tube to a process cell in the adjoining containment building, where they will be dismantled, washed, and packaged for safe storage. All of these operations are conducted under a nitrogen environment to prevent NaK fires.

The retrieval cell and mast were built in Toulon, France by French nuclear experts Areva, and tested with DSRL engineers in attendance, before being shipped over to Caithness and installed in the sphere.

It is a completely bespoke tool, which project manager Peter Poulton believes is unique.

"The distortion of the breeder elements was caused during the irradiation process, and has posed a problem to their removal," he explained.

"With our input, Areva have produced a machine that is versatile enough to be able to cut away every stuck element and remove it from the core."

Retrieving the breeder elements is expected to begin in 2012, once the bulk liquid metal coolant has been destroyed, and will take an estimated two to three years to complete.

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

NDA group enjoys a big WiN at awards ceremonyThumbnail for article : NDA group enjoys a big WiN at awards ceremony
Employees from across the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority group have been honoured at a prestigious national awards ceremony in London.   The Women in Nuclear (WiN) Annual Awards recognises those who have gone above and beyond to promote gender balance and diversity across the nuclear sector.  
Radio Active Particles At Dounreay Foreshore Latest ListThumbnail for article : Radio Active Particles At Dounreay Foreshore Latest List
The latest particle find on the Dounreay foreshore was on 17th January 2020.   See the updated list.  
The NDA has launched its 2020 Stakeholder Survey
We're looking for your input to help shape future engagement.   The on-line survey only takes 10-15 minutes to finish and gives stakeholders, with an interest in the NDA's decommissioning and clean-up mission, a chance to air their views on progress - and on how they can do things better.  
Engineering Apprenticeships (mechanical, Electrical & Instrumentation) Closing Date 19 February 2020Thumbnail for article : Engineering Apprenticeships (mechanical, Electrical & Instrumentation) Closing Date 19 February 2020
Starting Salary: £12,595 in Year 1 rising to £18,191 in Year 4.   Dounreay is working at the forefront of nuclear decommissioning, waste management and environmental restoration.  
Dounreay Heritage Annual Report 2018 To 2019
Dounreay heritage strategy - Updated 26 November 2019 The Dounreay Heritage Strategy was published in 2010 and is managed by the DSRL heritage officer with advice from a panel of external experts from Historic Environment Scotland (HES), National Museums Scotland (NMS), Highlife Highland (HLH) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).  The Heritage Advisory Panel held its ninth meeting on 26 March 2019 in Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archives.  
Decommissioning In Japan - Learning From DounreayThumbnail for article : Decommissioning In Japan - Learning From Dounreay
As part of the nuclear sector deal, to foster ever-stronger links between the British and Japanese nuclear industry, Councillor Struan Mackie who represents Thurso and North West Caithness on Highland Council (Deputy-Chair of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group) undertook a five day Japanese visit to discuss the impact of nuclear decommissioning on local communities with stakeholders in Tsuruga City, Fukui prefecture.   The whistle-stop visit included two days in Tsuruga on , the home of the Japanese Atomic Energy Agencies fast reactor ‘Monju', is generally regarded to be a ‘partner plant' to Dounreay's PFR in Caithness.  
Dounreay Supplier Day Looks At Clean-up OpportunitiesThumbnail for article : Dounreay Supplier Day Looks At Clean-up Opportunities
Dounreay's latest supplier information day, hosted jointly with companies appointed to its decommissioning services framework, has proved popular with companies from around the UK.   Around 200 people packed into a venue in Wick, Caithness to hear about plans for future work to decommission the site.  
Dounreay Waste Store Construction Work Ahead Of ScheduleThumbnail for article : Dounreay Waste Store Construction Work Ahead Of Schedule
Construction work on the latest radioactive waste store at Dounreay is setting records.   The concrete floor slab has just been completed ahead of schedule and with an excellent safety record.  
The Pensions Regulator Authorises Combined Nuclear Pension Plan Master Trust
This latest approval brings the total number of schemes authorised by TPR up to 35, following the approval of the University of Oxford Staff Pension Scheme earlier this month (8 October).   CNPP is an industry-wide scheme, set up in 2006, for workers in the nuclear decommissioning industry.  
Half the fuel gone from iconic Dounreay reactorThumbnail for article : Half the fuel gone from iconic Dounreay reactor
Half of the last remaining radioactive fuel elements jammed for decades inside the iconic Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) have now been removed.   DFR with its famous dome once led the world in fast breeder technology.  

[Printer Friendly Version]