Summer 2018

Historic feature: shipping irradiated nuclear fuel in the 1960s

James Fisher made the feature pages of the Barrow Evening Mail recently when reporters unearthed a 1968 copy of the newspaper which announced a major contract for the shipping company.

The contract with the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority was to ship irradiated nuclear fuel from Japan to Britain. It represented a huge win for James Fisher and one which is credited with kick-starting the group’s now renown experience and technical proficiency in the nuclear industry.

Although the team was already shipping nuclear fuel from Mediterranean ports, this new contract required the fitting out of a new cargo boat, Level Fisher.

It was fitted with 12, 45 tonne steel containers  capable of moving the discharged nuclear fuel from the Tokai Mura power station, near Tokyo back to Barrow docks. From there the cargo was transported by rail to Winscale so that residual contents could be recovered.

In total, 160 tonnes of spent fuel was shipped from Tokai over a three year period, and 180kg of plutonium recovered from the fuel was subsequently returned to Japan for use in reactor projects.

Nostalgia

Read the Barrow Evening Mail's nostalgic feature  (via www.nwemail.co.uk)

Image: North West Evening Mail Archive (www.nwemail.co.uk)

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