The remnants of the past are gradually being stripped out of Dounreay’s dome.
The storage ponds facility was built in 1956 to safely house fuel and breeder elements after their removal from the reactor. The ponds are now lying empty containing only contaminated water which will eventually be treated prior to being discharged.
The pond facility is an above ground-level reinforced concrete structure, which consists of two reinforced concrete tanks separated by a concrete wall with a sluice gate located in the separation wall. There is an inner pond liner consisting of a composite layer of bitumen and concrete which is approximately 300mm thick.
Surveys are currently being undertaken by DSRL staff to determine the environmental conditions within the area. Highly skilled operators will carefully map the radiological conditions at 0.5 metre intervals over the walls and floor of the ponds.
In theory the water within the pond is acting as a shield which is protecting the surrounding area. Using these readings, assessments will be made of how the environment would be affected by removal of the pond water.
Once the radioactive contaminants are removed from the water and the water discharged the inner pond liner will be cut into blocks and packaged for disposal.
The floor and walls of the remaining structure will be made good with safe means of access provided ready for decommissioning DFR.