A Decade In The Un-making - Decommissioning Dounreay
10th April 2018
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. All have now been safely and painstakingly stripped out, culminating in the support building itself being removed from the landscape.
That final demolition included removal of a 27-tonne crane and several hundred pieces of cladding. Work to dismantle the inside of the structure saw remotely operated Brokks being deployed as well as a mobile crane which lifted 26-tonne shielded doors out through the roof.
Project Manager, Bill Lambie, said: "The final demolition of this complex is a significant achievement for all of those involved and represents a major step towards the ultimate removal of Scotland's oldest operational reactor. This was an area of the site with a highly radioactive inventory, large waste volumes and defunct plant and equipment.
"Now, due to the commitment and professionalism of the team, we have dealt with those hazards by applying innovation while keeping safety as the number one priority. This has been a team effort between Dounreay staff and a number of highly-experienced contractors including Nuvia, GDES, Matom and JGC Engineering."
The successful conclusion of this project leaves the reactor structure itself to be removed, with 5 companies bidding for the 3-year £7 million clean-up job. A contract is expected to be awarded later this year.
Bill added: "This is the first of three reactors that will be removed as part of the contract to decommission Dounreay. The knowledge, experience and skills gained by the team in the last decade will help other projects at the site as well as further afield."
DMTR was the first operational research reactor to achieve criticality in Scotland in May 1958. It had a thermal output of 25MWth and supported the site's fast reactor research programme, before closing in 1969.
Dounreay is Scotland's largest nuclear decommissioning project and is widely recognised as Europe’s most complex nuclear closure programme. The work is being delivered by Dounreay Site Restoration Limited, a company owned by Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Mark Raffle, NDA Lead Programme Manager, Dounreay, said: “The removal of this significant support complex, which for many years played a key role in various site operations, is a clear demonstration of decommissioning progress on site. Its removal facilitates further work, including the removal of the DMTR."
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have completed the transfer of around 700kg of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Dounreay, in the north of Scotland, to the US. The HEU transfer, from Dounreay to the United States, was announced by the UK Government as part of its commitment to the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington DC.
Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) has opened the door to dozens of companies to play an active role in supporting the delivery of Scotland's largest decommissioning project. Construction of a size reduction facility, shaft and silo decommissioning and demolition of historic active laboratories are just some of the major projects expected to be delivered as part of a decommissioning services framework, potentially worth up to £400 million, which was announced on Tuesday 23rd April 2019.
The fund is provided by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and administered by Dounreay in association with the Dounreay Stakeholder Group. Community organisations or charities that benefit people in Caithness and North Sutherland may be eligible for assistance from the Dounreay Communities Fund.
The first blocks of concrete have been removed from the top of one of the world's most recognisable chimneys. This marks the start of the demolition of Sellafield's Windscale Pile One stack.
The latest updates on radioactive particles released from Dounreay on beaches have been published. The latest find dates were - Dounreay Foreshore 11 January 2019 Sanside Beach 11 February 2019 Murkle Beach 26 November 2016 Nuclear fuel was reprocessed at Dounreay for almost 40 years.
Employees from across the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) group were honoured at a national awards ceremony for their work in addressing gender imbalance and diversity in the nuclear industry. Phil Craig, former Managing Director of Dounreay, scooped the coveted ‘Ally of the Year' title at the Women in Nuclear (WiN) UK conference yesterday, for being a leading male advocate of gender balance and diversity.
Introduction to the Consultation How to respond In this consultation, the NDA wants to hear from members of the public, nuclear regulators, employees within our businesses, trade unions, local authorities, Site Stakeholder Groups, Non-Governmental Organisations and any other organisation or public body. In your response please state whether you are responding as an individual or representing the views of an organisation.
Information on working with Dounreay and the supply chain was recently updated and is updated now on a monthly basis. If your company is interested in working with Dounreay then check the details at - https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/dounreay/about/procurement.
An emergency exercise will take place at Dounreay on the morning of Thursday 17 January. The site alert will be sounded to initiate the exercise.
In this consultation, the NDA wants to hear from members of the public, nuclear regulators, employees within our businesses, trade unions, local authorities, Site Stakeholder Groups, Non-Governmental Organisations and any other organization or public body. In your response please state whether you are responding as an individual or representing the views of an organisation.
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