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Good News As Caithness Firm Gets Contract At Dounreay

26th October 2005

A £2.5 million contract has been awarded to M M Miller (Wick) Ltd to construct the containment building needed to safely remove the last of the radioactive breeder elements from the Dounreay Fast Reactor.

The contract has been let by ALSTEC Ltd on behalf of an alliance of companies working with UKAEA on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to remove the breeder from the sphere.

David Hubbard, ALSTEC's Construction Project Manager, said: "We are very pleased to award this contract to M M Miller. We have worked successfully together in the past and greater integration into and support of the local Caithness community is a long-term objective of our organisation."

The construction phase of the containment building, which is to be connected to the famous Dounreay sphere, is expected to take eighteen months to complete. The building will house essential process equipment and will require approximately 180 tonnes of steelwork and 2,100m2 of outer wall cladding, with inner walls of both blockwork and reinforced concrete. The overall dimensions of the building are 30m by 44m with a roof apex height of 13m.

Kevin Minnock, M M Miller's Contract Manager, said: "We are delighted to obtain this contract and to be in a position to make this a truly local team effort, with the support of several Caithness based companies including Arch Henderson, Budge Formwork, G&A Barnie, Caithness Scaffolding, Johnson Controls and JGC Engineering & Technical Services Limited, as well as Isleburn Structural Services, based in Invergordon."

Enabling works commenced in February 2005 and completion was achieved ahead of schedule. Work has also been completed for the demolition of substructures to a depth of three metres below existing ground level, which required the excavation and removal of 12,000 tonnes of concrete, subsoil and rock. Work to construct a three metre high pre-cast retaining wall and the installation of 400m³ of blinding concrete is also complete, plus the formation of a new access road and the installation of utility infrastructure.

Peter Poulton, UKAEA Senior Project Manager, said: "This is a key phase of the challenging decommissioning work required at DFR and a crucial step towards the safe removal of the breeder, due to commence in 2008. Working in unison with our local contractors helps sustain a consistent and skilled project team which is essential for the safe delivery of major projects such as this."

The five companies in the DFR breeder alliance with UKAEA are Strachan & Henshaw (mechanical engineering), Framatome ANP (retrieval and tooling equipment), SGN (process plant) Atkins Nuclear (safety and environment) and Alstec (plant operations).


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