At midday on Wednesday 30th July, the first phase of the project to clean up Dounreay’s historic waste shaft came to an end ahead of schedule with a handshake and signatures.
During the successful work to isolate the shaft from the surrounding environment, the responsibility for the management of construction health and safety has rested with principal contractor Ritchies, a subsidiary of Edmund Nuttall Ltd.
Now that this phase of the work is complete, Ritchies have handed back responsibility for the area to DSRL, as they prepare to leave site.
Diverting groundwater around the shaft has greatly reduced the amount of contaminated liquid that will need to be treated when the water level inside the shaft is lowered and the waste retrieved, saving an estimated £200 million in waste management costs.
DSRL’s Derek Richardson, who is responsible for the area around the shaft, was one of the signatories to the hand over document.
He said: “The first part of this very challenging project has been very successful, and the professional way in which the team have worked together has been a contributor to this success. The project team recently received the team award in the 2008 Dounreay director’s safety awards for their pro-active attitude to safety and the environment."
The DSRL project team will now turn their attention to the enabling works for construction of the major plant needed to retrieve waste from the shaft and nearby silo.
This involves levelling a large area of ground and installing underground services in preparation for construction beginning in 2012.