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‘Great achievement’ says director as first fuel pond is cleaned out

‘Great achievement’ says director as first fuel pond is cleaned out

 Dounreay workers have completed the clean up of the first of Dounreay’s fuel ponds. As well as being a first for Dounreay, it is also the first pond at a Scottish nuclear facility to be decommissioned, and one of the first in the UK

Between 1964 and 2001, the 17ft deep pond had been used for storage of fuel elements for materials test reactors from around the world.

The achievement is the culmination of nearly eighteen months effort by the DSRL managed and supervised decommissioning team. The work was carried out on behalf of the NDA by a 14-man team drawn from DSRL, Doosan Babcock, NDSL and Nuvia.

Working in respirators, they emptied the pond of the fuel storage racks and other equipment, before filtering and draining the water. Once empty, the stainless steel liner in the pond could be partially decontaminated, then cut out using hand held cutting equipment

Contamination had penetrated the concrete and steelwork surrounding the pond liner and this meant specially selected hand tools were needed to remove these parts of the structure. Finally, the pond was subject to 100% radiological surveying.

DSRL Senior Project manager Charlie Fowler said that the decommissioning team could be justly proud of their achievement.

And site director Simon Middlemas paid a visit to the pond, congratulated the team on their great achievement.

“This small team of workers have completed an arduous task to time and within the budget, and with an excellent safety record,” he explained.

The inner pond surface has now been painted with masonry paint to seal the surface, with the opening covered by an engineered steel cover, which will provide access for further decommissioning works in the facility.