New Vaults Signal Start Of Waste Clearance
The clearance of tens of thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste from the redundant nuclear site at Dounreay today moved a step closer.
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd announced the formal award of a contract to develop a disposal site for low-level waste from the decommissioning and closure of the site.
GRAHAM Construction will build the first two of up to six underground vaults capable of taking up 175,000m3 of radioactive debris from the clean-out and demolition of Britain's 20th century experiment with fast breeder reactors.
Low level waste accounts for more than 80 per cent by volume of the radioactive waste that will be produced during demolition of the site, but less than 0.01 per cent by radioactivity.
Since decommissioning started over a decade ago, approximately 11,500m3 of low-level waste has been processed and accumulated on the site.
The scheduled opening of the first vault in 2013, subject to regulatory and other consents, will herald the beginning of waste clearance from the site.
The disposal site is located adjacent to the redundant nuclear site on land owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
GRAHAM is expected to move its team into position in September and start ground excavation in October.
Approximately 140,000 metres of rock will be removed to make way for each vault.
Some of the rock from later phases will be crushed and recycled as aggregate to landscape the flattened nuclear plant, reducing the total bill for site restoration by several million pounds.
Some 8000 tonnes of aggregate made from the crushed rubble of buildings already razed is being used to build the roads and hardstanding areas at the new waste disposal site.
DSRL project manager Audrey Cooper said: "We're aggressively reducing the amount of waste we generate in the first place through new, more efficient ways to decommission and better ways to segregate and reduce the volume of contaminated waste. We expect this to reduce the total size of the facility we will need to build and bring down the cost to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority even further."
GRAHAM's contract is for the first phase of the project - the design and construction of two vaults - and is valued at approximately £13 million.
Leo Martin, Director at GRAHAM, said: "The contract to design and build the new low level waste disposal facility at Dounreay is an important one for GRAHAM and it is our firm intention that the delivery of this project makes a positive contribution to the Caithness economy.
"We are therefore actively seeking to foster local involvement and enterprise through the use of local labour, equipment and materials and will aim to utilise the skills and experience of local small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) wherever possible.
"We will be working hard with DSRL over the coming months on the design of the facilities and aim to commence on site this autumn."
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is investing £4 million in a community benefit fund attached to the development. The first payment of £1 million is due when construction starts in October.
Graham Construction web site www.graham.co.uk/
Graham Construction Ltd is an Irish company that has expanded across the UK with bases in Edinburgh and Glasgow. They employ almost 400 staff in Scotland mainly in the two main Scottish cities.
They have recently been awarded the conartract by Highland Council to build the new Aviemore Primary School at a cost of £11.9 million. The turf cutting ceramony too place for that contract on 23 March 2011.
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Dounreay’s radioactive impact on the environment continues to fall, according to a report. The annual survey report “Radioactivity in Food and the Environment” (RIFE 2012) has recently been published and it can be read here - http://www.sepa.org.uk/radioactive_substances/publications/rife_reports.aspx The report uses data obtained from samples of air, fresh water, grass, soil, and locally sourced meat, fish, milk and vegetables during 2012.
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The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has announced a decision to proceed with the next phase of the National Nuclear Archive project, which will see a new purpose built archive facility constructed at Wick to provide long-term storage of records and other archive material from civil nuclear sites in the UK. The archive will be operated on NDA’s behalf by a specialist commercial partner and is expected to bring more than 20 sustainable jobs to the town.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority says significant acceleration in the clean-up and shutdown of Dounreay will bring real value to the taxpayer who funds the work. Its chief executive John Clarke, writing in the organisation's annual report published today, says the award of the site closure contract earlier this year was a milestone in the NDA's mission to clean up the UK's nuclear legacy and bring down the cost.
Dounreay today completed the destruction of one of the most hazardous legacies of Britain's earliest atomic research. A purpose-built chemical plant processed the last of 57,000 litres of liquid metal lifted from the primary cooling circuit of the experimental fast breeder reactor.
Construction work is underway on a new railhead to support the closure of the redundant nuclear site at Dounreay. The facility at Georgemas Junction on the far north rail line will enable fuel belonging to the UK to be returned to national stocks where it can be used to generate electricity.
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