Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  

 

Half the fuel gone from iconic Dounreay reactor

15th October 2019

Photograph of Half the fuel gone from iconic Dounreay reactor

Half of the last remaining radioactive fuel elements jammed for decades inside the iconic Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) have now been removed.

DFR with its famous dome once led the world in fast breeder technology.

The reactor was built in the 1950s at a time when there was a worldwide shortage of uranium for electricity generation. Its core was surrounded by a blanket of natural uranium elements that, when exposed to the effects of the radiation, would "breed" to create a new fuel, plutonium. After the reactor closed in 1977 most of the core fuel was removed. But work to remove elements from the breeder zone came to a halt when some were found to be swollen and jammed. Almost 1,000 - around two-thirds of the total – were left in place.

Decommissioning the 60-year-old reactor is one of the most technically challenging projects in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority estate and removing the breeder elements has been a top priority.

After designing and testing remotely-operated equipment, a decommissioning team began recovering the elements in 2017, using purpose-built tools that reached down into the reactor to cut the breeder elements free and lift them into a flask for removal to the next stage of the process.

The success of the locally manufactured tooling has played a big part in the successful removal of half the remaining radioactive fuel inventory inside the reactor vessel. Local companies who manufactured mechanical equipment to demanding timescales included JGC Engineering and Technical, Precision Machining Services, and Calder Engineering. Contec Design Services carried out electrical, control and instrumentation works.

Senior Project Manager Raymond Hill commented:This is a challenging project and I am pleased that we are making good progress on the removal of the elements, which is contributing towards the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's mission to clean up the UK’s nuclear legacy.

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

Dounreay Nuclear Station Strike Postponed Following Improved Pay OfferThumbnail for article : Dounreay Nuclear Station Strike Postponed Following Improved Pay Offer
Strike action on Wednesday 19 June by around 600 Unite members suspended.   Strike action on Wednesday 19 June by around 600 Unite members employed by Nuclear Restoration Services Limited (NRS) at Dounreay nuclear power station has been suspended to allow workers to be balloted on a new pay offer.  
Corwm Visits Dounreay Nuclear SiteThumbnail for article : Corwm Visits Dounreay Nuclear Site
Members were given an overview of the scale of the problem and challenges faced in the decommissioning of the site.   In the last week of March 2024, several members of CoRWM led by the Chair, Sir Nigel Thrift, made the long journey up to the North of Scotland to visit the Dounreay nuclear site, now managed by Nuclear Restoration Services.  
Dounreay Bosses Accused As Workers Strike At Nuclear Site TodayThumbnail for article : Dounreay Bosses Accused As Workers Strike At Nuclear Site Today
Bosses at Dounreay have driven workers to strike after hiding behind civil service pay rules, according to GMB Scotland.   Workers at the nuclear complex are on strike today after overwhelmingly rejecting a revised pay offer and backing industrial action.  
NDA Group Establishes Innovative Partnership To Manage Asbestos Waste At Legacy Nuclear SitesThumbnail for article : NDA Group Establishes Innovative Partnership To Manage Asbestos Waste At Legacy Nuclear Sites
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), in collaboration with its subsidiary Nuclear Waste Services (NWS), has awarded two contracts to establish an innovative partnership for the enhanced management of asbestos waste.   The Asbestos Innovation Partnership (AIP) will work with the NDA, NWS and the supply chain, to test and develop new solutions to treat asbestos waste, helping to deliver efficiencies and enable more effective waste management.  
Dounreay Workers Vote To Strike Over PayThumbnail for article : Dounreay Workers Vote To Strike Over Pay
Workers at the Dounreay nuclear power complex in Caithness have voted to strike in a dispute over pay.   The GMB union said its ballot had an 85% turnout.  
Great British Nuclear To Buy Two Hitachi Sites For New Nuclear DevelopmentThumbnail for article : Great British Nuclear To Buy Two Hitachi Sites For New Nuclear Development
Land is to be acquired by government to underpin nuclear revival.   In a historic day for the UK's energy security, Great British Nuclear (GBN) is buying land for new nuclear development from Hitachi at both Wylfa in Ynys Môn/Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire.  
Gad Develops Bespoke Benefits Modeller As Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Reforms Pension BenefitsThumbnail for article : Gad Develops Bespoke Benefits Modeller As Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Reforms Pension Benefits
GAD has built a pension benefit modeller to support the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as it undertakes a pension reform programme.   The Government Actuary's Department (GAD) has supported the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as it undertakes a pension reform programme.  
North Highlands Team Headed For International Robot ChallengeThumbnail for article : North Highlands Team Headed For International Robot Challenge
NRS Dounreay and socio economic partners hosted the second FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge North Highland Tournament in March with local schools taking part.   The North Highland tournament took place in March at ETEC on the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) North West and Hebrides Thurso Campus.  
Dounreay Power Station Faces Threat Of Strike ActionThumbnail for article : Dounreay Power Station Faces Threat Of Strike Action
Unite the union confirmed around 450 of its members employed by Magnox Limited based at Dounreay power station are being balloted for strike action in a pay dispute.   The ballot which is now open will close on 2 April.  
NDA Group Hosts First Ever Large-scale Graduate Recruitment EventThumbnail for article : NDA Group Hosts First Ever Large-scale Graduate Recruitment Event
This week, the NDA group hosted it's first ever large-scale graduate recruitment event in Manchester, with over 600 candidates in attendance.   The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) group held its first ever large-scale graduate recruitment event in Manchester this week, bringing together more than 600 candidates as it looks to double the number of opportunities across its graduate schemes this year.