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

Decommissioning In Japan - Learning From DounreayThumbnail for article : Decommissioning In Japan - Learning From Dounreay
As part of the nuclear sector deal, to foster ever-stronger links between the British and Japanese nuclear industry, Councillor Struan Mackie who represents Thurso and North West Caithness on Highland Council (Deputy-Chair of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group) undertook a five day Japanese visit to discuss the impact of nuclear decommissioning on local communities with stakeholders in Tsuruga City, Fukui prefecture.   The whistle-stop visit included two days in Tsuruga on , the home of the Japanese Atomic Energy Agencies fast reactor ‘Monju', is generally regarded to be a ‘partner plant' to Dounreay's PFR in Caithness.  
Dounreay Supplier Day Looks At Clean-up OpportunitiesThumbnail for article : Dounreay Supplier Day Looks At Clean-up Opportunities
Dounreay's latest supplier information day, hosted jointly with companies appointed to its decommissioning services framework, has proved popular with companies from around the UK.   Around 200 people packed into a venue in Wick, Caithness to hear about plans for future work to decommission the site.  
Dounreay Waste Store Construction Work Ahead Of ScheduleThumbnail for article : Dounreay Waste Store Construction Work Ahead Of Schedule
Construction work on the latest radioactive waste store at Dounreay is setting records.   The concrete floor slab has just been completed ahead of schedule and with an excellent safety record.  
The Pensions Regulator Authorises Combined Nuclear Pension Plan Master Trust
This latest approval brings the total number of schemes authorised by TPR up to 35, following the approval of the University of Oxford Staff Pension Scheme earlier this month (8 October).   CNPP is an industry-wide scheme, set up in 2006, for workers in the nuclear decommissioning industry.  
Dounreay Apprentices Celebrate Completion Of Training SchemeThumbnail for article : Dounreay Apprentices Celebrate Completion Of Training Scheme
Seven Dounreay apprentices have received their indenture certificates at a special event to mark the successful conclusion of their 4-year training programme.   The latest group ‘graduating' joined the company in 2015 - the 60th year apprentices had been part of the workforce at Dounreay and the first time in more than a decade that design office apprentices had been recruited.  
A new intermediate waste store is being constructed at Dounreay.Thumbnail for article : A new intermediate waste store is being constructed at Dounreay.
The first concrete pour has taken place on a new waste store at Dounreay that will be needed for the closure of the site.   Dounreay awarded the contract to construct the new intermediate level waste store to GRAHAM Construction Ltd.  
Hold The Date For The NDA Supply Chain Event At A New Venue In 2020
The event, now in its ninth year, has been an overwhelming success in engaging with the suppliers who are so essential to achieving our decommissioning mission.   Since launching in 2011, the event has attracted a total of around 10,000 visitors from more than 20 countries, representing thousands of companies both large and small.  
NDA Stakeholder Summit 2019 Main HighlightsThumbnail for article : NDA Stakeholder Summit 2019 Main Highlights
This was the NDA's third summit, and the inspirational setting of the new Coleg Menai facilities, on Anglesey in North Wales, perfectly reflected the NDA’s approach to building sustainable post-nuclear communities around its estate.  Some £4 million of funding from the NDA’s socio-economic budget has been used to create a state-of-the-art educational facility at the heart of the island.  
AECOM signs agreement with Toshiba to perform nuclear decommissioning services in JapanThumbnail for article : AECOM signs agreement with Toshiba to perform nuclear decommissioning services in Japan
The partnership will expand access to the key Asian market that is valued at $50 billion and further underscores AECOM's leading nuclear decontamination and decommissioning capabilities.   LOS ANGELES (June 17, 2019) — AECOM (NYSE:ACM), a premier, fully integrated global infrastructure firm, and Toshiba have signed an Alliance Agreement to work together on decommissioning nuclear reactors in Japan.  
US and UK complete project to remove highly enriched uraniumThumbnail for article : US and UK complete project to remove highly enriched uranium
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.  

[Printer Friendly Version]