Nuclear Jobs

July 18, 2014

Sellafield celebrates 50 years of safe operations

Author: Admin - Categories: decommissioning, Magnox, NDA, sellafield

The UK’s first commercial nuclear reprocessing plant is celebrating a land mark birthday – still going strong after 50Sellafield img_process years of safe operations.

Sellafield’s Magnox Reprocessing Plant first opened its doors in the same year the Great Train robbers went on trial, and the very first episode of Match of the Day hit the first ever portable televisions.

It was an age before computers were able to help scientists plan and run nuclear plants, and the fact that Magnox has lasted for twice the length of time it was designed to, and is still reprocessing fuel and helping to keep lights on around the UK in 2014, is testament to the skills of the engineers who built the facility, true nuclear pioneers.

To celebrate that special birthday, Sellafield Ltd, the company who manage operations at Sellafield today, invited 50 former staff members back to visit the old facility, and see how it has changed over the years.

One of the group, John Hall, who was the night shift manager the night the very first fuel rods were put into the plant, said: “The Magnox reprocessing plant really has proved to be the backbone of the UK’s nuclear industry, and it’s doing important work today as it has always done.

“I remember that first night when it had been turned on, we went on the night shift not knowing what to expect. I mean, we sort of knew it was going to work because we were professional and we trusted the theory, but it was still something of a leap of faith to see exactly how it would work and what would happen — as there was no way you could be absolutely certain until you turned it on and waited to see what happened. It was a nervous first night and something I will never forget.

“There has obviously been a lot of modernisation in terms of bringing the plant up to current safety standards, and retrospectively fitting state of the art safety equipment, including computers, but in essence it still looks and feels very much like it did all those years ago. When I retired in 1994 I didn’t think I’d ever get to come back – but I’m glad I’ve been able to. I’m proud of having played a part in something that has been so important to the global nuclear industry and the fabric of the local area.”

Mark Jackson, the current Head of the Magnox Operating Unit said: “The longevity of the plant, and its safety record, are a real success for not only the nuclear industry, but industry as a whole.

“Imagine a car from 1964 still running on the roads today, and not just being brought out for exhibitions or displays, but actually doing hard miles, every month, come what may. That’s what our Magnox Reprocessing Plant does, and we are extremely proud of it.

“Of course from time to time we face challenges – you’d expect to with a plant this old – but we have a skilled and talented workforce, many of whom have worked in this plant for their entire careers, and whatever comes up, we overcome it and move forward. Some of the operators on the plant have been there for more than 40 years, they know it inside out and are able to pass on their knowledge to the younger team members.”

The government, most recently via the NDA, has invested heavily in maintaining the plant, such is the significance of the role it plays in reprocessing spent nuclear fuel from power stations around the UK. Without Magnox operating safely they wouldn’t be able to generate power for the National Grid.

It takes fuel from Magnox Reactors – like the one that used to run at Sellafield, Calder Hall, and recycles it, dissolving the uranium bar so that plutonium and fission products produced in nuclear reactors can be separated, with the plutonium and uranium able to be reused to make fresh fuel.

More than 52,000 tonnes of fuel have been reprocessed in the plant over the past 50 years.

It currently employees over 400 people, and is estimated to have sustained thousands of jobs in West Cumbria since it opened.

The plant is due to close down in around 2020 – but work to fully decommission it will take decades longer.

 

 

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July 16, 2014

Dounreay awards new contract

Author: Admin - Categories: amec, Dounreay, NDA
Dounreay aerial view

Dounreay aerial view

A four-year contract for professional services at Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) has been awarded to engineering firm AMEC.

DSRL is the site licence company responsible for the clean-up and demolition of this former nuclear research facility on behalf of the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA)

AMEC will provide a range of consultancy services including design, safety case preparation, project management, specialist engineering, decommissioning and technical support.

Under current plans, the Dounreay Nuclear site is expected to close by 2025

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Historic nuclear fuel retrievals re-start at Sellafield

Author: Admin - Categories: decommissioning, NNL, sellafield, waste management, Windscale
Sellafield Retrieval_WEB

Windscale Laboratory

The job of emptying canned fuel from the original Windscale fuel storage pond at Sellafield restarts following two years of work to refurbish a specialist facility which repackages legacy canned fuel into modern containers.

The Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) was the very first nuclear fuel storage pond constructed at Sellafield back in the 1940s and to this day remains the largest open air nuclear storage pond in the world. It is currently being decommissioned and part of this work involves emptying the pond of its nuclear fuel.

Dorothy Gradden, Head of PFSP explained: “The PFSP is well past retirement age and we’re fully committed to removing all the nuclear fuel that has been stored there for decades.

“The pond poses one of the most challenging decommissioning projects on the Sellafield site. Almost 1000 different waste forms have been identified and this canned fuel represents the most significant hazard in the pond and is therefore the highest priority to remove.

“We’ve given the National Nuclear Laboratory’s (NNL) Windscale Laboratory the job of opening up the old fuel cans in a controlled environment to examine the fuel condition and then repackage it for the site’s more modern fuel storage ponds.

“In 2012 we accelerated the retrieval of the first sixteen cans of fuel to allow us to prove our retrieval techniques and underpin the treatment route; while this work was successful we had to pause the retrieval programme while a scheduled upgrade of the Windscale Laboratory was carried out. This is now complete and we are very pleased to be able to start moving canned fuel from the pond and reducing the hazard associated with the facility.”

Originally PFSP stored nuclear fuel and isotopes from the Windscale Pile Reactors that produced nuclear materials for the defence industry. However, the majority of this canned fuel actually hails from the Windscale Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor (WAGR) – the AGR test reactor or golf ball as it’s commonly known. The PFSP received fuel from WAGR in the 1960s, but was never designed to store oxide fuel long term.

Project manager Andy Williams said: “A twelve month programme has started to transfer the 32 flasks of canned fuel from the pond to the NNL Laboratory and onward into the care of our colleagues in the Thorp programme. Underpinning this transfer has required a very close working partnership between all of the parties and has exemplified the drive for accelerated hazard reduction highlighted in the company mission.

“We’ve worked tirelessly to put in place new handling and export equipment so we can safely start emptying the pond of fuel – it’s a red letter day for us. This flask movement marks the successful conclusion of a substantial programme of work which will help meet the safer sooner objective for the PFSP.”

NNL Waste Management & Decommissioning Director Nick Hanigan said: “NNL operate the Windscale Lab, which is strategically important to both the UK and Sellafield. Sellafield Ltd is NNL’s biggest customer and it’s very important that we work together on the legacy clean up of Sellafield. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Sellafield Ltd team involved in recommencing the processing of materials and also the NNL team. They worked closely together to make this project a success. We will continue processing materials for another 12 months, and at the end of this it will be a major step forward in decommissioning the PFSP.”

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June 27, 2014

Sizewell A defuelling: less than 20 flasks to go

Author: Admin - Categories: Magnox, sellafield, Sizewell

Sizewell A moved one step closer to completing its defuelling this weekend after staff at the Magnox site removed the SZA-300x200final spent fuel from its twin reactors.

Around 3,000 of the 52,945 fuel elements, left when the station shut down at the end of 2006, remain in the site?s cooling ponds awaiting dispatch.

An estimated 17 further flask shipments are required to complete the defuelling phase and to prepare the site for „fuel free? classification by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

Tim Watkins, Site Director, said: “The team here has worked diligently to keep the fuelling machines running, making sure the defuelling programme continued safely and smoothly.

“We now face the task of dispatching the final flasks to Sellafield for reprocessing, in order to complete the job of removing 99 per cent of the site?s radioactive burden. Finishing this will be a momentous occasion in our history and our focus is now completing that work safely and efficiently.”

 

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Minister hails progress to dismantle Dounreay

Author: Admin - Categories: decommissioning, Dounreay, NDA, waste management

Great strides are being made at Dounreay to clear away Britain’s experiment with fast reactors, according toDounreay - decomm Government Minister Baroness Verma.

She made the comments in a foreword to the annual report and accounts of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the public body that owns Dounreay and funds its clean-up.

“I’m pleased to see the progress being made at Dounreay where, two years into the Cavendish Dounreay Partnership’s (CDP) contract to manage the site, great strides are being made and genuine cost savings achieved,” said Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

NDA chairman Stephen Henwood said the consortium in charge of site licence company DSRL “is delivering on its promise to accelerate the programme and achieve savings for the taxpayer”.

He added: “There has been a requirement to add some additional scope into the baseline at Dounreay which is requiring increased expenditure. Over the first two years of CDP’s contract; cost and schedule are being held against the original scope.”

Chief executive John Clarke said the NDA had asked DSRL to carry out “significant additional work, associated largely with movements of material to Sellafield for consolidation purposes”.

The additional scope is expected to be worth several hundred million pounds and is being progressively added into the Dounreay programme.

“This work was recognised as likely during the competition, however the exact scope was not sufficiently defined at that time to allow it to be included in priced bids for the site,” he said.

“The implication of the addition of this high priority scope is that the Interim End State date will be extended by a number of years. The SLC and NDA are working with HMG to minimise any impact on value for money arising from these changes.”

Nigel Lowe, NDA Head of Programme at the site, said: “Dounreay has met all of its milestones to date while taking on additional work which was anticipated, but not specified at the time of the competition. As the detail of this new work is refined it will be progressively incorporated into the wider site decommissioning programme.

“The site continues to be a role model for the effective management of technically challenging decommissioning under a target cost contract, and is attracting high levels of interest from both UK and overseas visitors.”

One of the milestones of the past year is the completion of the first two vaults at the new Low Level Waste Facility that will take around 150,000 tonnes of demolition material and other waste, including paper, rags, tools, glass, concrete and clothing as the site moves towards closure. The vaults will also take waste from the neighbouring Vulcan military site.

The shallow engineered vaults are scheduled to begin accepting waste material later this year. Each vault is around the size of a football pitch and 20 metres deep and, once filled and capped, will eventually be covered with earth and landscaped.

Meanwhile, work is proceeding apace on clean-up and demolition of Scotland’s oldest reactor, the Materials Test Reactor. The facility, which opened in 1958 and closed in 1969, was served by a number of ancillary buildings, including a cooling circuit and towers, a fuel pond, post-irradiation examination (PIE) cells, workshops, laboratories, an active handling bay and administrative offices.

Many of these ancillary facilities have now disappeared, with a major milestone achieved last year with clean-up completed at the highly contaminated post-irradiation examination (PIE) cells, or cave. Final demolition of the reactor itself is scheduled for 2015.

Around Dounreay the NDA continues to play a key role supporting projects in conjunction with the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP).

During 2013/2014, the DSRL socio-economic plan was successfully delivered. The CNS fund, established as the community benefit fund associated with the Dounreay LLW facility, completed a successful first year of operation awarding grants to 29 sustainable development initiatives.

In addition, the North Highland Regeneration Fund supported a number of existing and new local businesses through loan funding, helping to create and sustain jobs in Caithness and Sutherland.

 

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June 13, 2014

First active waste package goes into Hunterston ‘A’ ILW store

Author: Admin - Categories: decommissioning, Hunterston, Magnox, NDA, Uncategorized

Magnox Limited has achieved a major milestone with the transportation of the first active waste package intoMagnox thumbnail Hunterston A’s Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) store.

During their years of operation, the reactors at Hunterston A produced a certain amount of waste material, classified as either low or intermediate depending on their level of radioactivity.  Whilst all low level waste is sent off-site to a repository, a purpose built storage facility was conceived as a solution for safely and securely storing all ILW on-site until such time that the Scottish Government Higher Activity Waste Policy identifies final storage and disposal options for Scotland’s nuclear ILW.

Mark Stubbs, Hunterston A Site Director said: “The safe retrieval and encapsulation of all ILW is a key requirement of Hunterston’s preparation for its care and maintenance phase in 2022.  The transportation of the first active waste package into the store marks a major milestone for the site, Magnox Limited and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).  It is also testament to the dedication and commitment of the site workforce, who over the next few years will safely transfer approximately 1,650 packages of intermediate level waste on the site into our ILW store.”

Construction of the Hunterston A ILW store commenced in 2004 and includes mechanical handling systems so that processed and packaged waste can be stored safely, easily inspected, and removed safely. The building structure is 120m long and 21.6m wide, with 1.2m thick concrete walls, a concrete roof and a fixed base mass concrete foundation with an ability to store approximately 2,400 waste packages for over one hundred years. 

Brian Burnett, Head of Programmes at the NDA, said: “Retrieving, packaging and storing waste in safe and secure facilities is an important hazard reduction activity and a key step on the path to care and maintenance.  I commend Hunterston A and Magnox on achieving this milestone.”

 

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New plant at Sellafield ready to handle historic waste

Author: Admin - Categories: decommissioning, Magnox, NDA, sellafield, waste management

Senior representatives from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Sellafield Ltd attended the officialSellafield img_process handover

A new £240 million Sludge Packaging Plant (SPP1) has been built at Sellafield to handle historic radioactive waste from one of the most hazardous decommissioning projects in the UK.

The First Generation Magnox Storage Pond (FGMSP) handled 27,000 tonnes of nuclear fuel over its lifetime and is now being decommissioned. It is estimated that there is up to 1500 cubic metres of radioactive sludge left in the 60-year-old nuclear pond which will be pumped to the new SPP1.

Jack Devine, Chief Decommissioning Officer said: “We’re totally focused on cleaning up the Sellafield site and reducing the risk and hazards associated with the legacy nuclear plants. Some of this history isn’t pretty and the FGMSP poses a raft of technical and safety challenges, but we won’t shy away from these and completion of the SPP1 is a great example of our drive to make Sellafield safer sooner.”

The SPP1 has been built and tested, and is now being handed over to the operations team for final trials before it starts to receive sludge towards the end of the year. At the heart of SPP1 are three enormous stainless steel buffer storage vessels – each the same volume as seven double decker buses – to hold the sludge.

Each of the three vessels was brought to the Sellafield site in eleven separate sections and then welded together before being carefully slid into the reinforced concrete building. The welding of each vessel involved over 2000 metres of weld run, which was done 99% right first time. All welds were then radiographed to ensure the required integrity and that there will be no leaks.

Project Manager Karl Mason said: “Finishing off a large complex project like SPP1 is always a challenge and it’s been all hands on deck to complete the work to the high standards and quality required to enable the facility to be handed over to the FGMSP. We’ve had good support from our main contractors Doosan Babcock and Balfour Beatty to deliver the project”.

“I’ve been on the project seven years. To take the project from a starting point where we didn’t even have a design, to a position that you are pressing the button and making it work and handing the plant over for active commissioning preparations to then seeing the sludge being transferred into the facility later in the year will be very satisfying. SPP1 is a vital component to help empty the FGMSP and accelerate decommissioning of the plant.”

The build has not been without its challenges, in particular lifting and installing the 31-metre-long, 50-tonne pipebridge in a congested area surrounded by nuclear plants. It was one of the most technically challenging crane lifts ever performed on the Sellafield site. Space was extremely tight, the load was heavy and awkward, and the consequences of failure didn’t bear thinking about – but it was done and it was done safely.

The 1950s FGMSP is open to the elements with no roof and so sludge has been accumulating at the bottom of the pond just like in any garden pond. The sludge however is radioactive and lies up to one-metre-deep in places at the bottom of the 7-metre-deep pond and therefore getting the sludge out is a difficult job.

Martin Leafe, Head of FGMSP added: “It’s a very important day for us. We can now make significant progress in decommissioning part of the UK’s historic nuclear legacy, that up until now we didn’t have the means to deal with.

“We’ve built the SPP1 alongside the FGMSP and the radioactive sludge will be transferred into the new SPP1 through a huge pipebridge that we’ve already lifted into place. First, we need to retrieve some sludge from the bottom of the pond and this will be piped across to carry out the final commissioning tests, currently scheduled to start late 2014. We’ve recently carried out a very successful trial using a mini submarine and a powerful jet pump to prove that we’ve got the technology to lift the sludge off the pond floor.”

Speaking at the handover event, David Moore, West Cumbria Sites Stakeholder Group chair said: ”I would like to thank Sellafield Ltd for the opportunity to witness the handover of this impressive facility.

“The handover of SPP1 is a clear demonstration to the local community that Sellafield Ltd is moving forward in its commitment to safely reduce the priority high hazards on the site. The handover event and the subsequent tour of the SPP1 facility provided the perfect opportunity to see this new hazard reduction facility at first hand.”

 

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New plant at Sellafield provides radioacative sludge solution

Author: Admin - Categories: decommissioning, NDA, sellafield, waste management

A new plant to be built at Sellafield will provide over £50m cost savings and accelerate sludge retrieval from the

Model of the PFSP Drum Filling Plant

Model of the PFSP Drum Filling Plant

original Windscale fuel storage pond by more than three years.

Nuclear experts have come up with an innovative solution to the challenge of removing radioactive sludge from the world’s biggest open-air nuclear pond. Using a petrol-pump style design, the Drum Filling Plant (DFP) will export the sludge from the Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) at a fraction of the original estimated cost.

PFSP was the very first nuclear fuel storage pond constructed at Sellafield back in the 1940s and to this day remains the largest open air nuclear storage pond in the world. It is currently being decommissioned and part of this work involves emptying the pond of its radioactive sludge.

Dorothy Gradden, Head of PFSP explained: “The pond was built in 1948 and contains more than 300 cubic metres of radioactive sludge, which is made up of fuel corrosion products and algae, which have been accumulating in this open air pond. It poses one of the most challenging decommissioning projects on the Sellafield site.

“The plan is to decommission and empty the PFSP to make this historic plant safer sooner. However, before the pond water can be drained, the radioactive sludge has to be removed. This sludge is similar in consistency to tomato ketchup and lies at the bottom of the seven-metre-deep pond. We’ve already started hoovering this up and pumping it in an in-pond corral and we need the Drum Filling Plant to export the sludge for treatment.”

The pond stored nuclear fuel and isotopes from the Windscale Reactors that were designed and built in an incredibly short timescale to produce nuclear materials for the defence industry. The Windscales Piles as they are better known never actually generated electricity, but were the precursor to our Calder Hall reactor – the first commercial reactor in the world.

Today, the Sellafield Ltd project team has echoed this innovative spirit and come up with a revolutionary design for the DFP in less than twelve months.

Project Manager Chris Plane said: “Well over 60 years after the PFSP was built, we’ve developed a new concept plant to package and transfer the radioactive sludge to a modern waste treatment plan. The DFP will be operational by mid 2015 and provides a cost effective solution saving the UK taxpayer money and reducing the sludge hazard.

“The original planned encapsulation export facility was estimated to cost well over £70 million, but we’ve come up with some innovative ideas using technology borrowed from other industries and will build a fit-for-purpose plant which is simpler and will instead cost in the region of £20 million.

“We’ve thrown out the original idea of a high capacity nuclear crane, shielded concrete operating cells and substantially reinforced foundations. Instead we have designed a building skeleton containing what is effectively a large-scale petrol filling pump which we’ve proved using a test rig and it does what it says on the tin – it fills drums.”

The drums will sit inside a 40 tonne transport flask on the back of a transport wagon which is already used on the site for moving waste between plants. The filling system is lowered onto the flask using locomotive lifts from the rail industry and the drum filled without ever leaving the flask. A new lid is being designed for the existing flask using 3D scanning technology to introduce a filling port to allow the sludge to be metered into the drum.

Dorothy added: “The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has approved the plant build and we’ve recently placed a contract with Nuvia to construct the DFP.

“The plant will be built as separate modules to allow it to be assembled and fully tested off site in a controlled environment before being unplugged and shipped to site. This reduces the work required to be done in the more restrictive Sellafield site environment and further accelerates the delivery schedule.”

 

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June 5, 2014

Mini submarine helps to remove Sellafield radioactive sludge

Author: Admin - Categories: Magnox, sellafield - Tags: ,

Remotely operated mini submarines have been used at the Sellafield nuclear site to demonstrate just howSellafield submarine radioactive sludge could be removed from the bottom of a historic fuel storage pond.

One of the biggest decommissioning challenges at Sellafield is the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond (FGMSP) which handled 27,000 tonnes of nuclear fuel over its lifetime.  It is estimated that there is up to 1500 cubic metres of radioactive sludge left in the 60-year-old pond – that’s equivalent to more than half an Olympic swimming pool. 

The 1950s pond has thick reinforced concrete walls however it was built with no roof and is open to the elements, so sludge has been accumulating at the bottom of the pond just like in any garden pond.   The sludge is made up of algae, corrosion products and wind-blown material but is radioactive and therefore needs careful handling.

Martin Leafe, Head of the facility added: “We’ve taken technology used in the hazardous deep sea conditions and applied it at Sellafield in our own hazardous nuclear fuel storage ponds. The mini submarines can explore, survey and carry out remote operations at the bottom of the pond, while the workers remain safe and dry outside the pond.  

“We are building up our knowledge of the radioactive sludge characteristics to help develop equipment for bulk sludge retrievals, which will have to cope with sludge up to one-metre-deep in places.  The greater our understanding of the sludge the more opportunities we will have to accelerate decommissioning of this priority project.

“Significant savings will be made using mini submarines rather than designing and building complex bespoke equipment which was our original plan. We now have the ability to clear space in this hugely congested storage pond to help with the recovery of nuclear fuel, contaminated waste and radioactive sludge as part of our work to empty this legacy facility.”         

Sellafield Ltd has already built a Sludge Packaging Plant (SPP1) alongside the historic pond and inactive commissioning of the new plant is being carried out.  Before it can start operating, some sludge has to be sucked up from the bottom of the seven-metre-deep pond to test it and that’s where the Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) or mini submarines come in.

Dave Skilbeck, the facility manager said: “We are extending our Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) capability all the time to help empty this historic nuclear pond.  Our experienced pilots can “fly” the machines within the pond to survey the fuel and sludge, take sludge samples for analysis, and pick up and consolidate nuclear fuel into fuel containers for export out of the pond.

”Our latest success has been attaching an eductor to the ROV which has proved that we can lift the sludge from the bottom of the pond.  The eductor device is like a powerful jet pump that creates a negative pressure differential that draws the sludge up through a thick hose. 

“We need about 50 cubic metres of sludge to commission and test the new Sludge Processing Plant later this year and we’ve now proved the technology to get the job done.  We can safely get the radioactive sludge off the bottom of the pond whilst leaving behind the water which is a significant step forward.”

Radioactive sludge to a depth of 30 centimetres was successfully removed from a small area of the pond floor right down to the concrete base slab. This capability will be used to help pond floor clearance and will provide access to the containers of nuclear fuel that needs to be retrieved and moved to modern storage.

The radioactive sludge is thick and although the eductor had been previously trialed using simulant materials, there was no guarantee that it would be effective when introduced into the FGMSP.  Video footage was taken by the ROV and it shows this grey sludge being pulled up through the hose and the yellow uranium is clearly visible. 

Further trials are now being carried out to capture and temporarily store the sludge, before it is turned into a consistency suitable to start pumping it across to the new SSP1 at the end of 2014.

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June 2, 2014

Sellafield to experiement with 3D scanning and printing

Author: Admin - Categories: decommissioning, Magnox, sellafield - Tags: ,

The company which runs Europe’s largest and most complex nuclear site is the first nuclear company in the world toSellafield img_process experiment with innovative new uses for 3D scanning and printing.

Sellafield Ltd hopes to save the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds by combining metal and plastic 3D scanning and printing to help them decommission some of the most potentially hazardous plants in the world.

Donna Connor, Head of Technical Capabilities at Sellafield Ltd, said: “Personally as a material scientist, 3D scanning and printing is the Holy Grail; the technology offers a huge amount of opportunity that we can exploit to continue the safe and accelerated clean up of Sellafield site.

“The plants at Sellafield are unique and many of them have been used for far in-excess of their original design specification. Our Magnox Reprocessing plant, for example, was originally designed to work for 20 years and now, 50 years later, it is still recycling spent nuclear fuel from power stations around theUK.

“With these older plants lots of parts are one-off designs, which makes it both expensive and time consuming to replace parts. If something has to be custom manufactured it could mean a plant is closed down until a part is replaced, and even if we can avoid closing the plant temporarily, we know for certain that the part will be expensive. Using this technology can revolutionise the way we do things, saving time, and money for the taxpayer.

“Sellafield has always been a place where we’ve been first to do things. We were home to the world’s first nuclear power station in the 1950s, and continued to lead the way on nuclear energy for generations. It seems fitting that we should be the first nuclear company to be pioneering this new technology.”

Sellafield Ltd has already started using 3D scanning, and saved £25,000 by using 3D blue-LED scanning technology to design a new lid for a 40 tonne Solid Waste Export Flask, which is used to ship radioactive sludge across Sellafield site.

Now a conference has been held at the site, in Cumbria, to look at more ways in which they can utilize the newest 3D technology, metal printing, a process which fuses together very fine layers of metal powder with a focused laser beam to create parts and components in high performance metals.

Managing Director of Sellafield Ltd, Tony Price, said: “The nuclear pioneers of the 1940s and 1950s developed these plants at Sellafield, and were world leaders in their day. My team today has the chance to be the world leader once again, but this time in terms of decommissioning and waste storage.

“These emerging technologies are hugely exciting for the future legacy of our nation and the nuclear sector, and I’m proud to be able to say we were the first nuclear company to adopt them. It proves that Sellafield Ltd can stay at the forefront of the world’s nuclear industry.

“The technology has famously been used to build the titanium lattice frame for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games ‘Queen’s Baton’ and structural components for artificial satellites and Formula 1 cars.

“The quality of definition of these printers means that the products they produce are actually more accurate, stronger, and more reliable than parts made using traditional techniques. This is a really exciting development for us.”

 

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