Dounreay's Oldest Reactor To Be Demolished
15th August 2017
It is 60 years this weekend since the first criticality was achieved in Scotland using a test rig at Dounreay. Now the decommissioning team responsible for the site is marking that milestone by taking a major step towards demolishing the oldest reactor that remains at the former fast reactor research centre.
Companies are being invited to bid for a contract to demolish the iconic Dounreay Materials Test Reactor (DMTR) which became Scotland's first operational reactor in 1958. DMTR, which was built with steelwork weighing in at almost 600 tonnes and stands on foundations more than 25 metres in diameter, tested the effects of irradiation on metals and was the only reactor on the site to use heavy water instead of liquid metal as a coolant.
Fuel was removed soon after it shut down in 1969 and many of the surrounding facilities, including cooling towers, emergency control room and pipework have since been cleared out and demolished. The control room desk and panels, which were key to the operation of the reactor, were transferred to Caithness Horizons in 2015 where they remain on display and the final support building is on track to be knocked down by the end of the year.
Bill Lambie, Project Manager, said: "This month we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first criticality in Scotland, which took place in a temporary test rig. That was an immense achievement, and we are now poised to demolish its successor and the oldest reactor on site, DMTR.
"The removal of DMTR from the skyline will be a significant step for Dounreay, and will be a real and visible sign of the decommissioning progress being made."
A contract notice will appear in the Official Journal of the European Union for the project estimated to be worth around £7 million over three years. A contractor is expected to be appointed in the first half of 2018.
The first criticality, where neutrons collide to create a nuclear chain reaction, was achieved in a test rig known as ZETR (zero energy test reactor) located alongside DMTR at lunchtime on 13 August 1957. Bill added: “This was an historic moment because it put Dounreay on the map as the UK's centre of fast reactor research, and encouraged the local population to acquire scientific skills and abilities that have been associated with the area ever since."
The Dounreay Socio Economic Plan sets out the main activities to be undertaken by the Dounreay Socio Economic Alliance (DSEA) which consists of Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Cavendish Dounreay Partnership (CDP) and Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL. DSEA's activities are based on support to mitigate the economic impacts of the decommissioning of the Dounreay site.
The companies responsible for decommissioning Dounreay on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority have set out proposals to ensure long-term employment for their workforce after the site closes. Around 1,100 Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) staff taking apart the former research site have been told about a series of future commitments including the offer of a job with one of the companies behind the site's parent body organisation Cavendish Dounreay Partnership.
Roc Technologies Awarded 5-year Strategic IT Transformation and Managed Service Partnership by Dounreay. Roc Technologies recently announced it has been awarded a 5-year contract to transform and manage IT services by Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd(Dounreay).
Roc Technologies today announced it has been awarded a 5-year contract to transform and manage IT services by Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd(Dounreay). Dounreay is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Cavendish Dounreay Partnership Ltd, a consortium of Cavendish Nuclear, Jacobs and AECOM and funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to deliver the site closure programme at Dounreay.
More than 200 people packed into the Weigh Inn hotel in Thurso this week as Dounreay Site Restoration Limited and supply chain partners shared plans and ideas about the decommissioning of the site. Leading nuclear firms mixed with numerous small and medium sized enterprises for the event which was attended by those who either support the site through existing framework contracts or have registered for the innovative ‘LINC with Dounreay' scheme.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) welcomed Lord Duncan of Springbank, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Scotland Office, to its Dounreay site to see decommissioning progress. Lord Duncan travelled to Caithness to learn more about work on Scotland's largest nuclear clean-up and demolition project.
Decommissioning a nuclear reactor is about more than removing the core itself and, around a decade after work started to pull apart a host of support facilities associated with Dounreay's oldest reactor, they have all gone. Radioactive facilities, including a cooling pond, storage compound and examination cells assisted Dounreay Materials Test Reactor (DMTR) during its operational life.
Work has started to make safe one of the most hazardous materials left at Dounreay. Highly radioactive liquid, known as raffinate, has been stored in tanks for around 20 years after being produced as a by-product of Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) fuel reprocessing.
Construction of a new facility to support the decommissioning of reactors and demolition of historic active laboratories are just two of Dounreay's major projects expected to be delivered as part of a new framework agreement, potentially worth up to £400 million, which is being published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) today. - www.ojeu.eu The decommissioning services framework agreement will initially be for a period of up to 4 years with the possibility of extensions of up to 3 years meaning skyline changes could be delivered over the next decade under the arrangements.
Engineers at Dounreay have raided a scrap car and a kitchen can opener to help decommission one of the site's reactors. The handbrake from a vintage 1968 Ford Cortina has been used to help steer a camera, attached to wheels taken from can openers, into the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) where a detailed survey inside the plant was completed.
[Printer Friendly Version]