Spring 2013

JFN supports world’s deepest nuclear clean-up project

James Fisher Nuclear (JFN) has been contracted to assist with the retrieval and processing of radioactive waste from the Dounreay shaft and wet silo – in what will be the world’s deepest level nuclear clean-up task.

The company will supply a suite of remote handling equipment and end effectors to support the retrieval, sorting and segregation of miscellaneous waste materials. The multi-million pound contract will be delivered over a two-year period and will involve the construction of a test facility in the JFN Rig Hall at Egremont, West Cumbria, in which to undertake testing and operator training prior to the delivery of equipment to Dounreay.

“We have an extensive track record in providing remote handling systems at Sellafield and Magnox and this contract represents a ‘first’ for the deployment of our capability at Dounreay.”

Commented JFN managing director, Dr Paul Read.

The contract is the first of a number due to be placed by Dounreay relating to the decommissioning of the ‘high hazard’ shaft and silo facilities. Some of the most hazardous radioactive waste from Britain’s redundant fast reactor programme has lain submerged in water for 50 years in the 65-metre deep vertical shaft beneath the facility. The wet silo is a sub-surface watertight two-compartment reinforced concrete tank; each compartment is approximately 8.5m long, 4.9m wide and 10.5m deep. The main mechanism for the remotely operated retrieval of waste from these hostile and difficult environments will be a hydraulic grab deployed from an electric overhead travelling crane located in a new facility above the silo.

Dr Read adds:

“Our specialized remote handling skills are directly applicable to the challenges that the Dounreay site faces. We’re keen to get started and support the next steps of the site’s decommissioning programme.”

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