Looming high into the roof voids of the former Prototype Fast Reactor steam generating building stood a gigantic metal hockey stick shaped structure.
The huge twelve meter high curved pipe weighing four tonnes was part of the heat transfer system and would have fed sodium from the secondary circuits into the colossal dump tanks below in the event of an emergency.
Dounreay is leading the way in world-wide clean-up of former nuclear facilities, and as demolition progresses removal of massive and extremely heavy steel structures presents a challenging task to the site.
There were two pipes per tank, one for effluent and one for vent. The vent pipe was removed a few years ago and the remaining effluent pipe was chopped off and lifted, tilted, turned and lowered to the ground. With very little margin for error this was a highly intricate process using a crane to hoist the structure nearly ninety feet into the air.
Work to pull apart the former reactor is rapidly advancing with more and more large items of redundant equipment being ripped out of the building as the plant is dismantled.
Simon Coles, PFR projects delivery manager, said: “The strip-out of the steam generating building and removal of redundant plant and equipment is integral to the decommissioning of PFR and meeting the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s site restoration plan. DSRL’s project manager, Rashid Abdulla, and his team, are working extremely hard to ensure the safe and successful stripping out of this area in order to proceed with the PFR dismantling.”