Supporting PFSP decommissioning at Sellafield

JFN's expertise and facilities allow Sellafield to progress PFSP decommissioning programme promptly and in a cost-effective way.

With a new framework agreement set to be concluded in the coming months, we look back on how James Fisher Nuclear (JFN) began working with Sellafield in the summer of 2013 to qualify requirements and to identify, develop and test solutions ready for deployment in pile fuel storage ponds (PFSP) at the nuclear power station.

By utilising plant mock-ups and combining 'commercial off-the-shelf' (COTS) equipment with prototype long-reach tooling manufactured in-house, JFN has been able to respond in a considered and rapid way to programme modifications and has reduced the amount of support equipment required on plant.

Bespoke equipment designed and manufactured by JFN for the project included skip and waste lifting beams, remotely operated drum grabs, self-buoyant pneumatically operated magnets and sludge retrieval equipment for which it achieved specific Technical Readiness Levels (TRLs).

Reflecting on the effects of this method, David Birks, lead project manager, et al. comment,

By applying the use of fit for purpose equipment and tools it was demonstrated that decommissioning can be achieved in much shorter timescales than the more traditional approach of using bespoke engineered solutions.

On-site training was also delivered by JFN for plant operators thereby minimising dose uptake and underpinning an effective relationship with Sellafield.

The innovative approach taken by JFN and Sellafield to the decommissioning of pile fuel storage ponds has proved so successful that a joint paper was written about it and presented at a leading international waste management conference in 2016.

Read the 'Accelerating the Decommissioning of the Sellafield Pile Fuel Storage Pond Using Innovative Remote Tooling Developed with the Supply Chain" paper.

For more information on the remote tooling used in the Sellafield pond decommissioning project please read our long-reach tooling case study.