Nuclear Jobs

October 24, 2014

Oldbury 50 per cent defuelled

Author: Admin - Categories: decommissioning, Magnox, Oldbury, sellafield, Sizewell

The decommissioning of Oldbury nuclear power station has passed a major milestone as more than half of the site’s 52,060 fuel elements haveOldbury defuelling now been removed from its two reactors. 

Mike Heaton, Oldbury Site Director, said: “This is a significant milestone in Oldbury’s lifecycle. The reactors are now half empty and over 19504 fuel elements have been shipped to Sellafield.

“We are now focused on removing all the remaining spent fuel from site, which will remove over 99 per cent of the total radioactivity from Oldbury.”

Once the fuel is removed from the reactors, it is stored for a number of weeks in cooling ponds on site before being shipped in fuel flasks to Sellafield for reprocessing.

Around 180 further flask shipments are required to finish defuelling at the site, which Magnox hope to complete early in 2016.

Tim Dunham, Defuelling Director, added: “The Oldbury team is doing a great job defuelling both the reactors. Retrieving all the spent fuel for reprocessing is a key milestone in the Magnox programme and when complete will allow Oldbury to enter the decommissioning phase of its lifetime.”

Oldbury’s success follows on from that of Sizewell A site, where defuelling of reactors was completed in August.

© Magnox 2014


Dounreay projects protect and promote site’s natural environment

Author: Admin - Categories: Dounreay - Tags:

Dounreay’s 140 acres cover a variety of habitats, including maritime grassland and heath, cliffs, seashore, the Mill Lade and grassland. EachDounreay environment habitat attracts a unique range of biodiversity onto the site.

Biodiversity, short for biological diversity, is the term used to describe the variety of life found on Earth, and all of the natural processes. This includes ecosystem, genetic and cultural diversity, and the connections between these and all species.

The perimeter fence helps make the site a haven for wildlife and plants.  Bird species that breed on the site include Common gulls, Eider ducks, Arctic terns, Oystercatchers, Song thrushes and ravens.

 There is evidence of owls, particularly in the small copse of trees outside the fence to the south east of the site. Recent work to encourage owls to breed in the copse saw the installation of nesting boxes. While no owls nested there last year, a family of jackdaws took advantage of the ready-made home.

Diverse insects such as bumble bees and butterflies are often to be found feeding on the wildflowers within the fence.

With such a range of natural biodiversity to be found, Dounreay has made a commitment to protect it by minimising the impact of its activities on the environment.

A Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) has been produced which contains actions to protect and promote the flora and fauna on the site.

It includes the bee meadow project, which was set up as a foraging area four years ago to encourage bumble bees onto site; the vegetation trials project which looks to find suitable habitats for the site’s end state; and the monitoring of the Scottish primroses that were moved during the construction of the new LLW vaults.

This year’s bee surveys showed that a number of bee species use the meadow, including the Great yellow bumblebee, White-tailed bumblebee, Common carder bee and the Garden bumblebee. All the species are fairly common, apart from the Great yellow which is now only found on the north coast and islands of Scotland, and in Ireland.

Towards the end of every summer the bee meadow is cut and the cuttings removed from the meadow to reduce the nutrient levels in the soil. This limits the amount of grass that grows and allows wildflowers to flourish. Some of the wildflower species include Kidney vetch, Common knapweed, Meadow vetchling, Birds-foot trefoil, Yellow rattle, Devils-bit scabious, Red and White clover, and Meadow foxtail to name a few.

The area next to the meadow will be developed into a ground-nesting bird habitat. It will use the grass cuttings from the bee meadow and be seeded to provide protection from the elements and from predators.

A new project included in the latest BAP is to develop the area adjacent to the new labs with wildflower species, rather than simply planting grass seed. The area was de-stoned and rotovated, then seeded at the end of July. The wildflower species will be monitored regularly.

All of the actions included in the latest version of the BAP are due to be completed by the end of 2016.


October 10, 2014

Nuclear experts gather for national risk conference

Author: Admin - Categories: NDA, sellafield - Tags: ,
NDA Conference

Growth Twenty14 Exhibition

Nuclear specialists from across the country recently gathered in West Cumbria to share the latest learning and best practice in risk management.

The forum, jointly organised by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield Ltd and sponsored by LSC Group (a specialist provider of risk management services), brought together representatives from 19 historic nuclear sites owned by the NDA to discuss issues vital to the complex world of risk management, including learning the difference between risk and hazard, how businesses can build an understanding of unknown risks and potential cost consequences.

The event, held at the home of the UK’s most challenging nuclear complex, was preceded by a tour around a number of high-hazard decommissioning projects at the Sellafield site, to provide delegates with an understanding of the company’s role in supporting activities at other nuclear sites, and how associated risks are being managed.

Paul Robson, head of risk management at Sellafield Ltd (a Nuclear Management Partners owned company), described how the site had made significant progress in developing greater levels of risk awareness over recent years, encompassing senior management and the workforce as a whole.

Paul said: “The forum is an opportunity to discuss our improvements, network with risk professionals and build supportive frameworks across the NDA estates, so that we can benefit from each others expertise and increase the value being delivered by the profession for the NDA.

“It is an opportunity to reflect on where ‘best practice’ is being used across the estates, and use it to improve delivery for each of the businesses and the NDA.”

Guest speakers included NDA assurance director Kenna Kintrea, who emphasised the importance of communicating risk as well as ensuring understanding, at every level of an organisation.

Nick White, risk manager at Research Sites Restoration Ltd (an NDA site licensed company responsible for the closure programme at nuclear sites, Harwell and Winfrith) said: “The Sellafield site tour was fantastic and definitely put risk management into perspective. It was a real eye opener for anyone working in risk management.

“The presentations were also excellent and you could see how much effort Sellafield Ltd, NDA and LSC had put into organising the event.

“The most important part now is what we and the estate do with the information to continuously improve risk management.”

Lynn Stalker, Sellafield Ltd business risk manager said: “After all the hard work in preparing both the tour and the forum, we are delighted that it was a success.

“We received a lot of positive feedback from the attendees afterwards which is great for moving forward with the forum in the future.”


August 29, 2014

Final fuel removed from Sizewell A

Author: Admin - Categories: decc, decommissioning, Magnox, Sizewell

Sizewell-Flask-15-300x200The removal of more than 52,000 fuel elements from the two reactors at Sizewell A in Suffolk has been successfully completed ahead of a target set by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). It is the first time that the site has been fuel-free in almost half a century marking the biggest milestone since the end of generation in 2006.

Tim Watkins, Site Director, said: “Every member of the Sizewell A team has demonstrated determination and pride as they’ve safely progressed defuelling during the last few years to reach this historic moment. It’s another success to add to an impressive record including 40 years of electricity generation. “

Regulators will now complete a process that should verify fuel free status later this year – confirming that more than 99 per cent of the radioactive hazard has been removed from the site. The spent fuel has been sent to Sellafield in Cumbria where it will be reprocessed.

Dr Brian Burnett, NDA Head of Programmes, said: “To have dispatched the last fuel flask from the site some seven weeks ahead of the DECC target is a fantastic achievement and testament to the dedication, commitment and professionalism of the team at Sizewell A.  I would like to thank and congratulate everyone who has been involved in achieving this important milestone.”

Neil Baldwin, Magnox Managing Director, added: “ To safely deliver this milestone ahead of schedule is a fantastic achievement and I congratulate everyone involved. Reducing hazard is at the core of our mission and this is yet another great example of doing just that. We have now removed the spent fuel legacy from eight of the ten Magnox sites.”

Attention now turns to a period of focused decommissioning where waste will be recovered and treated, while redundant machinery will be removed and non-essential buildings will be demolished.


First nuclear analysis laboratory to be built using modular construction is handed over at Dounreay

Author: Admin - Categories: Dounreay - Tags:

Dounreay siteThe first nuclear facility of its kind to be built using modular construction has been handed over and is now undergoing active commissioning at Dounreay.

The laboratory for the analysis of radioactive materials was constructed using a Yorkon off-site building solution from the Portakabin Group, and is one of the most complex and remote modular building projects ever undertaken in the UK.

The contract for the £9m building was awarded by DSRL to a team led by off-site manufacturer and main contractor, the Portakabin Group.

The 1,300sqm building was manufactured off site at the Portakabin Group production centre in York and craned into position in only four days to minimise disruption to operations at Dounreay.

It provides six laboratories to allow DSRL to comply with its statutory and environmental monitoring requirements and will remain in use for up to 25 years until the site decommissioning process has been completed. It will then be deconstructed – the building modules are inherently easy to disassemble, recycle and re-use elsewhere, making the approach highly sustainable.

Its facilities include the laboratories, offices, drench showers and boot barrier in the active area, with ancillary accommodation for offices and locker rooms in the clean area.

The Dounreay scheme has been designed in full compliance with stringent nuclear industry requirements and regulations for ionising radiation and to withstand the rigours of a highly exposed marine environment.



New Waste Store at Sellafield

Author: Admin - Categories: sellafield, waste management
An official opening event marked an important step for waste storage at Sellafield

An official opening event marked an important step for waste storage at Sellafield

Sellafield Ltd has marked the completion of a new state of the art storage facility that will keep nuclear waste safe and secure for many years to come.

The Encapsulated Product Store 3 (EPS3) is the latest addition to the suite of facilities designed to store Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) in purpose built above ground storage buildings on the Sellafield site.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the completion of the facility, Sellafield Ltd’s Ewan Smith said: “Over the course of this project the efforts of many people, from many different disciplines and companies have been required. At the peak well over 200 people were working on the project and it is to their credit that we have delivered the project safely and to a high standard of quality.

“We have achieved an exemplary safety record – with over 8 years of construction work, that’s more than 2 million hours, without a reportable injury. This hasn’t just benefited the project, but the community too, as the construction team has donated over £30,000 to 80 West Cumbrian charities as a result of this excellent safety record.

“It is now with great pleasure that we hand over the facility to the operations team who will ensure that it does what it is required to do”.

The modern store contains over 32,000 cubic metres of concrete and 7,300 tonnes of reinforcing steel and represents the very latest generation in nuclear waste storage, design and construction. It is capable of storing over 29,000 waste drums.

Steve Bostock, Director Spent Fuel Management said: “EPS3 will receive ILW arising from the sites continuing reprocessing and high hazard removal operations, as part of decommissioning a number of priority facilities. The team is now excited about operating this new facility to enable continued safe and secure storage of ILW on the Sellafield site”.

Pete Lutwyche, Sellafield programme Director for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), added: “The completion of EPS 3 marks a major milestone in the decommissioning of Sellafield. This facility is a key piece in the jigsaw of projects we need to clean-up the most hazardous areas of the site – the NDA’s number one priority task.

“Once opened, the building will provide world-class, modern storage of waste for many years to come, pending its ultimate transfer to the safest and most secure method of dealing with this material – disposal in a deep geological facility.

“This is one of a number of achievements this year at Sellafield, including the completion of the Sludge Packaging Plant and the restarting of fuel removal from the Pile Fuel Storage Pond, and I hope to see this momentum continuing across the decommissioning programme.”



August 26, 2014

HSE confirms appointment of new Chief Executive

Author: Admin - Categories: HSE

The Health and Safety Executive, Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety, has aims to reduce

Dr Richard Judge

Dr Richard Judge

death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. It has recently announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive.

Dr Richard Judge has been appointed chief executive of Britain’s workplace health and safety regulator. He will start at the Health and Safety Executive in November 2014.

Commenting on the appointment, Judith Hackitt, HSE Chair, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Richard as our new chief executive and look forward to working with him. His valuable, considerable experience in both the public and private sector is a perfect fit for HSE, enabling us to take forward our commercial agenda whilst also ensuring we can build on our standing as a world-class regulator of workplace health and safety.”

Richard Judge said:

“This is a great opportunity to lead the executive of a renowned and respected regulator that will soon celebrate its 40th year. I look forward to working with my new HSE colleagues, and with everyone who has a stake in delivering further improvements in Britain’s health and safety performance.”

Richard is currently chief executive of the Insolvency Service. Prior to this he had a varied career in science and technology organisations spanning the nuclear, rail and environmental sectors. Richard has a professional background as a Chartered Engineer (Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers), and is qualified as a Chartered Director.

He will take over from Kevin Myers, who has been acting chief executive since August 2013, when Geoffrey Podger stepped down after eight years in the role


August 15, 2014

EDF closes two nuclear power stations

Author: Admin - Categories: EDF - Tags: , ,

EDF has, in a precautionary move, temporarily closed two nuclear power stations in the North – Heysham 1 and heysham-1Hartlepool. This follows the finding of a crack in one of the boilers at Heysham 1 during a routine inspection in June which led to one of the reactors being shut down.

EDF has said that the four reactors at the two power stations will remain shut as they are of a similar design.  It is currently estimated that the investigations may take up to eight weeks. Other nuclear power stations owned by EDF are unaffected by these closures as they are of a different design.

Shut-down at this time of year is unlikely to have any significant effect on electricity supplies as demand is low and any shortfall can be supplied by other stations on the National Grid.

August 1, 2014

ONR suggests working with different regulators risks slowing UK nuclear build

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

Working with nuclear regulators in different countries risks slowing the development of small nuclear power stations ONR logo ONR logo
in the UK.

That’s the view of the Chief Nuclear Inspector at the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR), who was providing evidence at the House of Commons on small modular reactors (SMRs) in Britain.

SMRs are reactors that are less than 300MW in capacity and unlike large nuclear plants, they can be made in a factory as a whole unit.

Speaking to the Energy and Climate Change Committee, Dr Andy Hall said: “The only caution I would give in working with other regulators is the group could move at the speed of the slowest in the group although usually speaking you would expect working in combination, you would all come to a conclusion more readily, more speedily.

“In some cases, if other countries don’t have the same priorities for reactor design, it might not move as quickly as ourselves or some others.”

When asked if agreeing to a regulatory scheme with another market might open up potential for savings, Dr Hall said despite the safety objectives in major western countries being similar, it would be “very difficult” for regulators in different nations “to simply issue a joint statement of acceptability of a reactor design”.

He added each nation would have to issue the acceptance of a design in a way that aligns with their own legal and regulatory processes which could prolong the procedure. The US system is moving to becoming “more risk-informed than it has traditionally been” however the UK has had that since 1974, Dr Hall said.

Britain is currently looking into three SMR designs that have been proposed by different organisations.

However, according to the Director for Strategy and Technology at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) “just having the science and technology right doesn’t mean we can implement it”.

Dr Adrian Simper said: “We have to think through where does the money come from, who is contracted to whom and for what, who bears what sorts of risk, how do we bring in technology vendors, builders, people with money and utilities. Ultimately electricity needs to be a part of this in order to create a solution which delivers the end point that UK separated plutonium stockpile is managed to the smallest amount.”

He added the aim is to know “how we would go to the market to carry out an acquisition” by 2016 and then allow DECC to make a decision on whether it wishes to start building small nuclear power plants.



Tallest historic chimney at Sellafield to be demolished

Author: Admin - Categories: decommissioning, sellafield - Tags:
Sellafield Self-climbing-platform

An innovative self climbing platform will be used to dismantle the chimney

The skyline at Europe’s oldest nuclear site will change forever when the 122 metre structure is removed.

The 61-metre chimney sits on top of an eleven-storey reprocessing plant and stands 122 metres from the ground in total, making it the tallest historic structure on the site since it was built in the 1950s – but not for much longer.

Sellafield Ltd’s demolition team is developing plans to safely dismantle it but, because the chimney sits right at the heart of one of the busiest areas of the most complex nuclear site in Europe, they’ll not be able to use explosives to bring it down.

Instead they’ll be using a special platform to remove the 600 tonnes of concrete and rebar, and over 25 tonnes of stainless steel that make up the huge structure.

Project manager Matthew Hodgson said: “The job of bringing down the stack is going to be a delicate operation to ensure 100 per cent safety of all personnel and surrounding nuclear plants. We have employed Nuvia Limited who has been working with us and a number of other contractors, including Delta Steeplejacks, for the last three years on the demolition scheme.

“Because we can’t use explosives, we will use an ingenious self-climbing platform which will bring the chimney down bit by bit in a controlled manner.”

This clever technique has recently been used in the demolition of the Battersea Power Station’s famous chimneys, which have actually then been re-built to preserve the appearance of the capital’s iconic building.