Three lead baths weighing between twenty-one and twenty-eight tonnes each have been hoisted out of the redundant Dounreay Fast Reactor.
Stripping out the old lead baths has been a challenging legacy faced by both the DFR project team and Dounreay’s waste directorate as decommissioning the fifty year old plant progresses.
Purpose designed and built lifting frames fabricated and installed by Gow’s Lybster Ltd were used to remove the large cast iron lead giants. They were lifted as single units by DFR’s Butters crane.
The internal liners of the lead baths are highly contaminated due to the historical operations where irradiated elements inside transit cans were submerged in molten lead within the baths prior to being transferred to the DFR cooling pond.
Project manager Jack McCracken explains: “Decommissioning DFR is one of the most challenging projects faced by the NDA. This project proves that with a dedicated and committed team of people all working together these challenges can be achieved safely and on time. Taking out the lead baths means a major radiological hazard has been removed from the DFR facility which allows future decommissioning projects to progress to meet the site closure programme.”