Companies are being invited to express interest in tendering for the design and construction of a disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste from the decommissioning of Dounreay and adjacent Vulcan facility.
A site adjacent to the former fast reactor research establishment was identified following public consultation and planning permission granted in 2009.
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd has published a contract notice, starting the procurement process for the design and build of the first two vaults, with options for later phases.
Each vault will measure approximately 80 x 45 metres, with a depth of approximately 20 metres.
The contract is planned to begin in April 2011, with construction due to start within 12 months and the first waste due for disposal by 2014.
It’s estimated the decommissioning of Dounreay and the neighbouring Vulcan nuclear site could generate up to 175,000m3 of solid low-level radioactive waste. DSRL will seek to minimise the amount of waste through the "waste hierarchy" principles.
The waste comes from the clean-out and dismantling of redundant reactors and research facilities.
After segregation and treatment, the waste is processed on site in 200-litre drums that are compacted to a fifth of their size and packaged in half-height ISO shipping containers.
Subject to regulatory approval, the containers will be placed in the engineered vaults and back-filled with cement.
Up to 100 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase. The total cost of the project, including operation and closure, is expected to be in the region of £110 million.