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Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) Scrap Metal Helps Local Trials Facility

14th February 2007

Photograph of Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) Scrap Metal Helps Local Trials Facility

Scrap metal from the strip-out of the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) secondary sodium circuit cells is being re-used by UKAEA at the T3uk purpose built trials centre at Janetstown, on the outskirts of Thurso. The redundant steel sections, once used to support pipework within the cells, were identified for re-use to assist with other Dounreay decommissioning projects.

The trials organised and controlled by UKAEA are to evaluate the technical capabilities of three remotely operated vehicles (ROV's), which will be used for carefully dismantling, size reducing and removing waste from redundant plants and facilities while reducing the hazard and risk to the decommissioning teams. One of the refurbished machines has been out of service for a number of years and following the trials will be fully operational again, which is a considerable saving for the site, with a new ROV costing in excess of 250k. Fourteen operatives comprising UKAEA and contractor personnel have been trained in the use of the ROV's at the facility.

The set-up involved the manufacture of concrete blocks to mimic the structures to be decommissioned, plus the collection of miscellaneous steelwork and concrete items which will be used to test dismantling and size reduction techniques. The materials have been sourced direct from the site, not only minimising additional waste generation, but avoiding considerable purchase and fabrication costs.

Staff training is ongoing to enable operators to acquire the necessary skills to manoeuvre the complex robotic devices, two of which will be loaned to our Windscale site in Cumbria to assist with further staff retraining and technical trials in preparation for their WAGR decommissioning project.

UKAEA's Tom Johnston, senior project manager, said "This is an excellent example of the benefits from good co-ordination in the re-use of redundant materials, successful dismantling trials across our sites, and the retraining of personnel for decommissioning activities, the combination of which help the UKAEA reduce costs and optimise its decommissioning programmes while demonstrating sustainable decommissioning practices."


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