Measuring The Unmeasurable: Research Paper Could Help Dounreay Clean Up Plutonium Legacy
11th May 2021
Ground-breaking research published in Nature Communications shows that traces of plutonium in the environment can be identified as being from global or local sources.
Using soil samples taken from Dounreay, an area near to the site and 2 areas at a distance from the site, the research showed that it was possible to identify whether minute traces of plutonium in the soil came from plutonium ‘bred' in a reactor or from global fallout.
The research was led by Professor Malcolm Joyce and colleagues from Lancaster University alongside Dr Jeremy Andrew from Dounreay and colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Jeremy said that the results could lead to considerable cost and time savings in the decommissioning of Dounreay and other Nuclear Decommissioning Authority sites, as areas of local pollution could be specifically identified, targeted and then assessed for clean-up if required.
He added:This research demonstrates the benefits of close collaboration between nuclear decommissioning sites and academia. As well as the potential applications of this advanced method in characterisation strategy and planning, we have developed a better understanding of the applicability of a broad range of measurement capabilities, including those available in more routine radiological laboratories.
The shaft and silo project ‘advanced transition' work is getting underway at Dounreay. Radioactive waste was historically consigned to the 65 metre deep shaft and the silo, an underground waste storage vault, over several decades starting in the late 1950s.
Airline suit work has restarted at Dounreay after more than a year's delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing an airline suit is cumbersome and the wearer needs to be dressed and undressed by a dedicated team of helpers who then provide support throughout the task.
Statement issue18 March 2021 by NDA, Dounreay and Sellafield. In 2013 we concluded the development of our strategy to remove unirradiated nuclear material from Dounreay and consolidate it at Sellafield.
Dounreay has awarded an important waste clean-up contract to Jacobs as the site plans for the future of its deepest historic radioactive waste store. Jacobs and its supporting partners have been awarded a 6-year contract to provide a design management team to produce a fully integrated design for the shaft and silo project.
14 successful companies have been awarded contracts to come up with innovative approaches to remotely sort and segregate radioactive waste. The ‘Sort and Seg' innovation competition, worth £3.9 million in total, was launched in July 2020.
David Peattie, Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, has announced the appointment of Lawrie Haynes as Chair Designate of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd. (DSRL).
Dounreay features in a new leaflet from the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency showing recent research, development and innovation. See the leaflet link at the bottom of this page to read about some of the other investments by the NDA.
The Decommissioning Services Framework (DDF) Alliance, led by Cavendish Nuclear and supported by KDC Contractors (Veolia) and BAM Nuttall (BAM), has been successfully awarded a contract for the design of a new waste repackaging facility at the Dounreay nuclear site. The programme of work is expected to run until early 2022 and forms part of Dounreay Site Restoration Limited's (DSRL's) Decommissioning Services Framework.
Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) has announced the appointment of Mark Rouse as its Managing Director. Mark took up the position of Managing Director in March 2020 but will now move from the current parent body organisation to Dounreay Site Restoration Limited to continue leading the business when it becomes an NDA subsidiary on 1 April 2021.
Work on Dounreay's newest radioactive waste store went up a storey last week, with the completion of a ‘mega' concrete pour. The construction project was one of the first to re-start work on 22 June, following the easing of lock down restrictions.