Autumn / Winter 2021

ROVs continue Sellafield legacy ponds clean-up

James Fisher Nuclear (JFN) has successfully secured a 12-month extension in March to its long running contract for the provision and operational support of remote operated vehicles (ROVs) for the Legacy waste storage Ponds at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, UK.

Sellafield’s Legacy Ponds represent some of the most complex and difficult nuclear decommissioning challenges in the world. Some of the facilities within the Legacy Ponds date back to supporting work to develop the UK’s nuclear deterrent, which began in the 1940s and, more recently, played a vital role in storing used fuel from Magnox power stations  that has helped keep the UK's nuclear power stations operating and generating low carbon electricity for over half a century.

The contract, with The Decommissioning Alliance (TDA), which oversees the decommissioning of  the legacy ponds facilities on site has been expanded to include the introduction of larger, more powerful ROVs. 

ROVs have become integral to the current decommissioning strategy, playing a vital cost-effective support role in the removal of fuel, miscellaneous waste and sludge from the Legacy Ponds’ facilities. These adaptable and robust vehicles fitted with bespoke tooling and attachments designed and manufactured by JFN have been invaluable in the undertaking of essential work to support the ongoing operation of the plant.

Working closely with JFN over the last four years, Sellafield (through TDA) has established additional ROV launch/recovery sites as well as operational stations, maintenance areas, and workshops to support the ever-expanding fleet of ROVs. This has been made possible by JFN’s work to consolidate pond inventory and accelerate pond floor clearance operations to provide the floor space required for these additional tasks.

Under the contract extension, JFN’s ROV team has been delivering 12 months of continued operations and maintenance within the Legacy Ponds, focusing on personnel, equipment, and ancillary requirements such as training, spares and maintenance.

Wayne Jones, JFN project manager, says the renewal of this contract will enable JFN to work with TDA and Sellafield to deliver a more sustainable future by accelerating the clean-up of the country’s nuclear legacy:

‘Our core purpose has always been to provide Sellafield with a pioneering, safe and trusted solution to the complex problems the site presents. Since JFN first proved the feasibility of ROVs within the Legacy Ponds we’ve had great successes, and we continue to be a trusted, agile solutions provider focusing on problem solving at the point of execution.’

‘We are pleased to be able to continue supporting TDA and Sellafield in the accelerated clean up and removal of nuclear hazards from the Legacy Ponds,’ Wayne adds.

It is hoped that a further extension will be awarded in March 2022

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