NDL consortium partners win multi-million pound design contract within Prototype Fast Reactor Facility (PFR) decommissioning project at Dounreay  

This is the first major contact win under the Decommissioning Services Framework (DSF) for Nuclear Decommissioning Ltd (NDL), of which JFN is a consortium partner

Nuclear Decommissioning Ltd’s (NDL) multi-discipline design team, made up of James Fisher Nuclear (JFN), REACT Engineering, Shepley Engineering and Tetra Tech, will be developing the detail scheme designs to allow Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) to safely package and transport Irradiated Fuel (IF) from the Prototype Fast Reactor Facility (PFR) for long-term storage. This is part of the DSRL strategic plan to help accelerate Scotland’s largest decommissioning project situated on the north Caithness coast.

JFN will be playing a key role in all aspects of engineering, project and commercial management for the programme, working alongside its NDL consortium partners, together with NDL’s influential partners, RPS Consulting and nominated subcontract partners, Risktec and Rapid Rail.

Michael Gray, PFR Project manager for DSRL:

“We’re looking forward to working with  the consortium to deliver on this important project in the decommissioning timeline for DSRL and the Decommissioning Services Framework.”

The main objectives of the project include:

  • The development of the scheme design for a facility, within the PFR reactor hall containment building, that will safely load individual IF containers into approved, shielded transport flasks ready for transfer to the storage site. The facility will ensure that all radiological aspects are assessed and proven to be ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Practical).

  • To produce a developed scheme design to enable a detailed HAZOP 2 (Hazard and operability) study to be completed and accepted.

  • Prepare the scheme design for all plant items, equipment, systems and proposed techniques, including coordinated and updated proposals for structural, mechanical, process, electrical, control and instrumentation disciplines.

Colin Cotterell, NDL delivery team lead:

This award marks a key milestone, being the first major contract DSRL has awarded to NDL, and puts us in a prime position to demonstrate our great strength and breadth of capability at DSRL.”

The PFR was a Fast Breeder reactor that was primarily used to test various designs of fuel assemblies. It also supplied power to the National Grid from 1975 and generated over 9,250 gigawatts of power before it was taken offline in 1994. The PFR was highly fuel-efficient compared to standard reactor designs (which was a key concern at a time when uranium was thought to be relatively scarce) and was even considered as a possible commercial design. Ultimately, as uranium was found to be much more plentiful and being more expensive to run than light water reactors, the PFR design did not enter widespread service.  

The NDL consortium will be calling on its extensive decommissioning experience in projects of a similar size and complexity to ensure effective delivery of this important undertaking. Adhering to the fundamental principles of the DSF for stakeholder engagement throughout the project delivery process, NDL will collaborate with DSRL to deliver a solution that will enable the safe and efficient loading and export of irradiated fuel from PFR into flasks for onward transportation.