Mr Muscle Helps Dounreay Clean-up
2nd April 2009
Another legacy of Dounreay's commercial venture into nuclear reprocessing has been safely cleaned up and taken apart. A household proprietry cleaner "Mr Muscle" was found to be the most effective way of removing glue and fake snow use in the clean-up process.
The pulsed column laboratory was part of Dounreay's attempt to create a commercial future in specialised nuclear services. It was built in the early 1980s to carry out realistic testing of commercial size pulsed columns with plutonium solutions.
The pulsed column rig, constructed inside a four-storey glove-box, was a towering array of slim glass tubes up to 10m high. The six columns were constructed from borosilicate glass sections, each 2m long, and weighing approximately 30kg.
The laboratory began operation in January 1986 and was finally shut down in 1991. Phase 1 decommissioning began in December 1991 and continued until March 1993. All the nuclear material, the 6 pulsed columns and other fittings in the glovebox were removed . Thereafter the laboratory was left on 'care and maintenance' until the final phase of the clean up work began in 2004.
Various options were explored for the disposal of the glass columns. Crushing was tried and abandoned due to the potential for the spread of contamination. Eventually, the decommissioning project team found that the best option was to decontaminate the columns and dispose of them as low level waste.
The columns were wrapped in Kevlar, carefully packaged up and transported to the site's decontamination facility.
The team carried out inactive trials wearing full airline suits. They used a clean glass column, and coated the interior with spray-on snow and the exterior with a PVA glue and tie-down coating to mimic the contaminated glass columns.
During the trials, they discovered that a household-strength glass cleaner 'Mr Muscle' was particularly effective in removing the glue and fake snow.
The team began the clean up of the contaminated columns in December 2008.
DSRL project manager Charlie Fowler and project engineer Alec Jappy believe that team work played a large part in the successful completion of the job.
"We developed ideas that were originally put into practice by the team taking apart the pulsed column glovebox," said Charlie.
Alec added; "There has been a lot of worker participation in the design of the primary decontamination containment. Their suggestions have been very valuable and has helped us to make refinements to the design. "
Following the decontamination process the columns were packed into industrial containers for future grouting, before being stored as low level waste.
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.
The latest particle find on the Dounreay foreshore was on 17th January 2020. See the updated list.
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 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.
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'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.
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.
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 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.
Seven Dounreay apprentices have received their indenture certificates at a special event to mark the successful conclusion of their 4-year training programme. The latest group ‘graduating' joined the company in 2015 - the 60th year apprentices had been part of the workforce at Dounreay and the first time in more than a decade that design office apprentices had been recruited.
[Printer Friendly Version]