Nuclear Jobs

May 29, 2015

Dounreay completes first phase of nuclear transports

Author: Admin - Categories: Dounreay, NDA, sellafield

Dounreay has completed the transfer of 11 tonnes of nuclear material to Sellafield.Dounreay - welcome

The material, a legacy of the site’s fast reactor programme, consisted of rods of natural uranium that had been irradiated to breed new plutonium fuel for power stations.

Known as “breeder”, 11 tonnes of the material was removed from the Dounreay Fast Reactor after its closure in 1977 and stored at the site.

In 2011, after canvassing the views of the public on the options, the decision was taken by the UK Government to remove it from Dounreay.

In December 2012, the first of 32 shipments left the site by road and rail. The final shipment arrived in Sellafield earlier this month, where it is being reprocessed.

Extensive checks carried out before, during and after each move confirmed the transport was carried out without incident and in compliance with safety and security regulations.

Alex Potts, deputy director of fuels at Dounreay, said the smooth transfer was made possible by the close working of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd with Sellafield Ltd, Direct Rail Services Ltd, flask supplier Magnox Ltd, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Police Scotland, British Transport Police and regulatory bodies.

“Together, we have delivered safely and without harm to the public or the environment the first phase of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s programme to consolidate its inventory of nuclear fuel and materials in the UK,” he said.

“It significantly reduces the amount of nuclear material at Dounreay and takes us another step closer towards the closure of the site.”

The NDA inherited approximately 100 tonnes of nuclear fuel and material which is now being returned to national stocks.

A further 33 tonnes of breeder material remains inside the Dounreay Fast Reactor and is also scheduled to be transported to Sellafield.

Purpose-built retrieval equipment has been installed above the reactor and is now undergoing a series of tests.

Work is also continuing in preparation for the transfer of other types of nuclear fuel and material that had accumulated at the site when its research and development role came to an end in 1994.

The UK Government’s decision to remove its nuclear fuel and material from Dounreay has resulted in a rescheduling of some other decommissioning work to accommodate the additional costs associated with transport, with a new date of 2030 now projected for completion of the site clean-up and closure.

 

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March 27, 2015

Sludge clean-up work underway at Sellafield

Author: Admin - Categories: Magnox, Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR), sellafield

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is pleased to see work begin this week at Sellafield to start ONR logoremoval of highly radioactive sludge from an ageing fuel storage pond.

This follows a period of extensive collaboration between ONR, Sellafield Ltd, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Shareholder Executive and Environment Agency as part of a new approach to deliver agreed priorities.

The reduction of hazard and risk, quickly and safely, at Sellafield is a key national priority and ONR’s number one regulatory priority.

The removal of waste from the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond is a further major development in ONR’s new long-term strategy to help drive improvements.

This open-air storage pond is one of two similar legacy facilities on site. Over the years it has been used to accumulate quantities of spent nuclear fuel, waste materials and fuel fragments. Sludges from corrosion of fuel cladding have also accumulated. Each of these wastes needs to be removed and processed through different routes.

Sellafield has now begun to remove and store the sludges from the pond in a newly built facility on site – Sludge Packaging Plant 1.

ONR’s Director of the Sellafield Programme, Andy Lindley, said: “The first transfer of sludges is a further significant milestone in our long term aim to drive forward reduction of hazard and risk at Sellafield.

“It is a priority to remove sludge from this storage pond and we are pleased to see Sellafield get this work underway.

“A lot of planning has gone into this. We engaged with Sellafield and other key stakeholders on the plans to construct the new sludge packaging plant and on all aspects of the removal of sludges from the pond to the new plant.

“This is a complex operation and a first of its kind at Sellafield. There will be challenges in removing this material and we acknowledge that there may be some setbacks. This is highly hazardous waste and its removal will take some years to complete. But the longer term benefit is huge in terms of overall hazard and risk reduction.

“Given the difficult nature of a project such as this, issues and problems may arise and so extensive work has been undertaken to identify and mitigate potential risks.

“ONR inspectors will work with other regulators to closely monitor progress and with Sellafield to overcome any issues that do arise.”

This latest development comes one year into ONR’s new strategy for regulating Sellafield and is a further successful outcome of the collaborative approach between key stakeholders.

The strategy and collaboration is having a positive impact on acceleration of hazard and risk reduction and has led to:

First sludges removed from First Generation Magnox Storage Pond and transferred to new Sludge Packaging Plant 1.

Improved engagement between key stakeholders.

Acceleration of removal of legacy canned fuel from Sellafield’s oldest fuel storage pond (PFSP). And the start of construction of a drum-filling plant to manage handling of sludge.

Re-package and transfer of highly radioactive plutonium waste from an ageing fragile structure to a modern robust storage facility.

Agreed methodology for allowing the use of mobile cranes on site for decommissioning work.

Improvements to Sellafield’s Periodic Safety Review processes.

You can read more about ONR’s Sellafield strategy and the highlights above on the dedicated webpage

 

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Removal of planning area for Trawsfynydd

Author: Admin - Categories: Magnox, Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR), trawsfynydd

ONR is pleased to announce that there are no longer hazards at the Trawsfynydd nuclear licensed site ONR logothat require it to have a local authority off-site emergency planning area, currently a 1.3km radius area around the site, as defined by the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001, (REPPIR).

REPPIR require the operators, in this case Magnox Ltd, to assess all of the hazards on the site and submit a report of this assessment to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). This report, along with any additional information ONR may request, is used to determine the need for, and where appropriate the extent of, the area requiring the local authority to produce an off-site emergency plan.

ONR has concluded that due to progress of decommissioning activities at the site, it is no longer reasonably foreseeable for a radiation emergency to occur at Trawsfynydd.

George Sallit, ONR Deputy Chief Inspector, said: “The announcement that the Trawsfynydd nuclear site no longer requires a REPPIR off-site emergency planning area is a very positive development. It means that ONR is satisfied that members of the public are no longer at risk from a reasonably foreseeable radiation emergency.”

However, Gwynedd Council (GC) and Magnox Ltd still have other general legal duties to protect the public and have emergency arrangements in place. These include:

Local authority, emergency services and health bodies have duties under the Civil Contingencies Act

The operator has duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act and specific duties relating to emergency arrangements and contingency planning under nuclear site licence conditions, and the Ionising Radiations Regulations

A copy of the project assessment report (PAR), which gives the details of how the decision was reached, is available on the ONR website

 

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March 13, 2015

Pioneering centre to train future engineers

Author: Admin - Categories: berkeley, decommissioning, NDA, Training
Berkeley College

An artist’s impression of the converted engineering hall

Decommissioned land adjacent to the Berkeley site is set to be transformed into a pioneering further education campus focused on science and engineering.

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College will refurbish a range of historic nuclear facilities. Some of these facilities were once destined for demolition. They will be brought back to life as the centrepiece of the new development.

The land forms part of the old Berkeley Centre research complex. It once carried out work for the UK’s entire nuclear industry. In 2006, following a comprehensive clean-up programme over many years, it became the first plot of land owned by the newly created NDA to secure de-licensing.

The 28-acre site was subsequently dedesignated by the Government in 2010. This enabled the site to be released for further use.

Its development as a science and technology park will mark successful completion of the full decommissioning cycle. The restored site has a new lease of life. One that both reflects its industrial heritage and meets the aspirations of the local community for a technology-related sustainable future.

The NDA’s Property Manager Tony Smithers said:
“This is, essentially, a site restored and mission accomplished.

“We are delighted to see the realisation of the vision of stakeholders. The vision was expressed during consultations about site end states some years ago.

“The potential for using these redundant facilities for educational purposes was not always obvious. We did once draw up plans to demolish the buildings.

“The college’s plans are exciting and ambitious. They support the UK’s drive to excel in science and engineering. They also build on Berkeley’s nuclear history. We look forward to seeing the first students welcomed onto the campus and enjoying their studies.”

The NDA has agreed a long-term lease for half of the 28-acre site after marketing the land for business use from 2006. Other premises on the site are already occupied by a range of businesses.

We expect vocational courses for the first intake of post-16-year-olds to start on site in 2016. By then the major phase of refurbishment will be complete.

The plans will see the cavernous old engineering rig hall as a focal point of the campus. Practical student training will re-use some internal equipment, such as the overhead crane. The façade will have solar panels installed. Other facilities, including a suite of welding workshops, will also be given a facelift to be re-used.

For the college, the opportunity to train future engineers and technicians in a realistic workplace environment is a major benefit.
Recreating such facilities from scratch would have been prohibitively expensive.

The campus will provide a wide-ranging curriculum up to post-doctoral level, including:

  • construction
  • mechanical
  • electrical engineering

Many of the courses will be designed to meet the
specific needs of employers in the region. The region will be a hub for the UK’s nuclear renaissance as the construction of nearby Hinkley C gains momentum. A further focus will be on sustainable skills and renewable technologies.

The College has secured £12 million of Government funding for the first phase of the anticipated £40 million development.

This includes funds for two specific projects:

  • a small-scale renewable energy research centre
  • a facility for the delivery of cyber security education and training

Both will be run in collaboration with the University of Gloucestershire.

The College will also invest at least £5 million. A decision is awaited on the College’s application to develop a £14 million University Technical College. This could specialise in training 14-19 year-olds in advanced manufacturing and cyber security skills. Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, GfirstMuch, has supported much of the development work.

© Nuclear Decommissioning Authority 2005 – 2015

 

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March 6, 2015

Sizewell A control room goes silent

Author: Admin - Categories: decommissioning, Magnox, Sizewell

The main control room at Magnox’s Sizewell A Site is now silent for the first time in more than half a SZA-Main-Control-Room-2_size-reduced-300x300century.

Home to an array of buttons, switches and dials controlling the former power station, the facility has kept the site’s heart beating 24 hours a day since generation began in the 1966.

Steve Pybus, who has worked in the facility for more than 20 years, said: “A significant period of my life, and that of my colleagues, has been spent operating the station from here. People often say it resembles something like the starship Enterprise, and coincidentally Star Trek was first broadcast in the same year that generation at Sizewell began. It is a sad and historic moment to see it empty, but a lot of work has been undertaken to prepare for this moment.”

The move, which will eventually lead to the area being dismantled, is part of an extensive programme to gear up for decommissioning. It follows regulatory agreement that the site, which generated 110 terawatt hours of electricity during a 40 year period, is now fuel free. Confirmation that the 52,000 fuel elements previously held in Sizewell’s two reactors have left the site means that 99 per cent of the radioactive hazard has been removed.

Site Director, Tim Watkins, added: “While this is the end of an era, it is very much a sign that decommissioning is starting to take shape. Magnox is leading the way at cleaning up this first generation of reactors in the UK and we will be applying all of the lessons we have learned at other sites to safely move Sizewell A to its closure point while delivering best value for the taxpayer.”

© Magnox 2015

 

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February 13, 2015

ONR approves continued operation at Sizewell B

Author: Admin - Categories: Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Sizewell

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has recently confirmed that EDF Energy Nuclear Generation ONR logohas demonstrated that the Sizewell B nuclear power station can continue to operate safely until 2025.

Full details of the decision can be found here.

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February 6, 2015

Demolition of Dungeness A scores TV coverage

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

Local television cameras in Kent have captured demolition machines knocking down a gigantic 50 tonne DNA-for-media-300x206‘goal post’ that helped to keep the 26 metre high turbine hall at Magnox’s Dungeness A Site standing.

It is the latest step in the removal of the redundant building which helped produce 115 terawatt hours of electricity during 40 years of safe generation.

Journalists from BBC South East and ITV Meridian News took the opportunity to share the latest updates on social media during their visit.

Demolition progress at Dungeness A Site can be monitored from a live camera that updates every minute. Click here to watch.

Magnox Limited is owned and operated by Cavendish Fluor Partnership Limited on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

© Magnox 2015

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January 16, 2015

150 flasks and counting…

Author: Admin - Categories: Magnox, Oldbury, sellafield

After successfully emptying 50 per cent of its two nuclear reactors earlier this year, the team at OldburyOldbury defuelling-2 Site is proud to start 2015 with fewer than 150 fuel flask shipments to go before the site is completely free of fuel.

At the end of generation, Oldbury’s two reactors contained just over 52,000 fuel elements, each containing approximately 11kg of uranium. Once all the fuel is safely sent to Sellafield, the site will have removed over 99% of its radioactivity.

Mike Heaton, Oldbury Site Director, said: “Our aim is to remove all the remaining spent fuel from site in just over a year’s time. It’s a meticulous process and takes time but we have the skills, the knowledge and the people to safely and securely deliver the Magnox work programme.”

Fuel is removed from the reactors, one element at a time, using the same machines that were used to refuel during generation. Once ready for dispatch, the fuel is loaded into a fuel flask and on to a fuel transporter ready for its journey, by road and rail, to Sellafield.

Each fuel flask measures 1.6 metres in height and carries around 200 fuel elements at a time. With less than 150 flasks left to dispatch, Oldbury should be free of fuel by the end of next year.

© Magnox 2015

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Appeal to North West employers as new figures underline importance of workplace safety

Author: Admin - Categories: HSE, Safety

Britain’s safety watchdog is marking its 40th anniversary with an appeal for North West businesses to hse_logo1make the wellbeing of workers their top priority for the new financial year.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is highlighting new figures which show that 15 people lost their lives while at work across the North West in 2013/14 and 9,432 suffered injury. That compares to 14 deaths and 9,401 injuries in the region the previous year.

Statistics were also released today showing the scale of workplace illness. Across the North West, some 120,000 people were estimated to have been made ill through their work over the same period.

Nationally, across Great Britain, there were 133 deaths at work in 2013/14, more than 79,500 injuries were formally reported and over 1.1 million people are estimated to have been made ill.

That is a huge reduction from when HSE was formally established in January 1975 to enforce the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 – the statute that underpins all health and safety legislation, and that is credited with making the UK one of the safest places to work in the world.

In 1974/75 a total of 651 employees alone were killed, and that is without including self-employed workers whose deaths were not recorded in the same way.

The latest figures show that those involved in construction, manufacturing and waste and recycling are most at risk today, with agriculture another industry where sustained improvement is needed. Local employers are being urged to review whether they can do more to protect their workforce.

Areas of particular concern include falls from height; work on machinery that is poorly maintained and guarded; and failing to properly manage workplace transport.

Steven Smith, HSE’s Head of Operations for the North West, said:

“The families of the workers in the North West who sadly lost their lives last year have just had to spend the festive period without their loved ones, while hundreds of other workers were made ill through their work or had their lives changed forever by a major injury.

“The figures offer encouragement that we are continuing to head in the right direction, but they also show that we can still go further and challenge the industries where there is room to do more.

“Workplace conditions have improved dramatically in the past four decades, but as employers plan and prepare for the new financial year they need to ensure that health, safety and welfare is a clear focus.”

HSE Chair Judith Hackitt added:

“In the forty years since HSE was formed, we’ve worked with businesses, workers and government to make Britain a healthier and safer place to work.

“Thousands of serious injuries have been prevented and work-related deaths have reduced by 85 per cent. HSE has helped Britain become one of the safest places to work in the world.

“But we must also recognise that there is still a big challenge to prevent the suffering which does still occur. Seeing the annual statistics always leads to mixed emotions, sympathy for those who have suffered injury themselves and for the families and workmates of those who have lost their lives, determination to improve things further as well as encouragement that we are continuing to make progress in reducing the toll of suffering.

“For the last eight years we have consistently recorded one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries to workers among the leading industrial nations in Europe.

However, in HSE’s 40th year it is right that we acknowledge the progress we’ve made and look to a future of striving to bring down these statistics even further.”

Information on tackling health and safety dangers in workplaces is available on HSE’s website at www.hse.gov.uk

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December 18, 2014

Historical nuclear fuel retrievals re-start

Author: Admin - Categories: decommissioning, NNL, sellafield, Windscale - Tags:
Windscale Laboratory

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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