NDA - On Fuel Removal From Dounreay
NDA to seek views on removal of fuel from Dounreay.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is to publish a report about the proposed removal of its nuclear fuel from Dounreay and wants to hear the views of the public.
NDA inherited approximately 100 tonnes of specialist reactor fuel from the UK Atomic Energy Authority after nuclear research came to an end and work started to close down the site.
Options for the fuels range from indefinite storage at Dounreay to re-use in nuclear power stations elsewhere. The NDA's preferred option will be set out in a report later this month.
A final decision on the largest single batch of fuel - 44 tonnes of uranium metal used to breed plutonium at Dounreay in the 1960s and 70s - is expected in September.
Members of the site stakeholder group heard last night the NDA's preferred option is to remove this fuel from Dounreay and reprocess into a form more suitable for either long term storage or re-use in reactors, depending on the outcome of Government policy reviews.
Alex Anderson, head of fuels at site licence company DSRL, said decommissioning of the Dounreay Fast Reactor had progressed to the stage where decisions needed to be made about what to do with the breeder.
"The fuel is being stored securely while we get on with dismantling the rest of the facilities round about them," he said.
"Decisions taken now about the future of the fuel will help us plan for what facilities, if any, we need to retain here in the longer term. This will let us refine the timescale and cost for closure of the entire site.
"If the NDA decides the breeder should be returned to national fuel stocks, we anticipate the first batch being ready to leave the site in January next year for reprocessing at Sellafield.
"Its transfer would be carried out by DRS, the NDA's own transport company and among the most experienced in the world at moving this type of material by train. It routinely takes fuel like this to and from power stations across the UK.
"Breeder makes up just under half the total inventory of fuel inherited by the NDA at Dounreay. Work is continuing with the NDA's agreement on options for the remainder of the fuels."
If the NDA proceeds with the proposal, the far north railway line is its preferred route out of Caithness. DRS, the NDA's rail transport subsidiary, is exploring options for the development of a rail head.
Coppyright NDA and Dounreay site Restoration Ltd
Another pioneering in-house invention has allowed the PFR reactor dismantling team to complete one of the final phases of the reactor dismantling ready for final demolition. The centre guide tube was successfully raised from the reactor core, demonstrating that internal fixtures can be safely removed.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority recognised the role played by a Wick-based manufacturer at Dounreay in its national awards for the UK supply chain. Kongsberg Maritime Ltd supplied a camera capable of working in the harsh radiation environment inside the Dounreay Fast Reactor.
The last batch of higher activity liquid waste produced during Dounreay’s Materials Test Reactor (MTR) research reactor reprocessing history was cemented into a drum on 7 November 2013. It is an important milestone in the processing of the historic liquid waste created during the operation of Dounreay’s three reactors.
Tomorrow (15 November 2013) The Highland Council launches a public consultation on the Dounreay Planning Framework 2: Draft Supplementary Guidance. The Highland Council approved the existing Dounreay Planning Framework in January 2006, as a land use development brief against which to regulate and control future decommissioning and restoration works proposed at the former nuclear power research site at Dounreay, near Thurso in Caithness.
A report published on Tuesday 5th November 2013 underlines how much work remains to be done at Dounreay before the site can be left in a safe condition for future generations. The Office for Nuclear Regulation Chief Nuclear Inspector's annual report says its inspection of the site will be at an “enhanced level” because of the continuing presence of major radiological hazards.
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.
Dounreay’s parent body organisation – the consortium of international companies that owns and manages DSRL – is getting a new name. From October 28, the Babcock Dounreay Partnership will be known as the Cavendish Dounreay Partnership.
An emergency exercise will be held at Dounreay on Wednesday 18th September 2013. The Dounreay site alarm will be sounded to initiate the exercise and may sound again throughout the duration of the exercise.
A week long summer school was held in late July for students of Thurso, Wick and Farr High School students in 4th, 5th & 6th years to prepare them for the world of work. The course, organised by DSRL (Dounreay Site restoratiopn Ltd) on behalf of the NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Agency), was supported by North Highland College and Skills Development Scotland.
Ther eis a Dounreay site newspaper published online each month. The issue for August can be seen at - http://goo.gl/W7ihcF.
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