Robots Will Take Dounreay's Dome Apart
Like something out of the Tom Cruise movie War of the Worlds, the Kuka robot has a very important job to do.
The standard industrial robot, built exactly the same as a typical car assembly line robot, will play an integral part in the demolition process of Dounreay's iconic fast reactor.
Removal of the highly hazardous and radioactive breeder slugs is the next crucial step in decommissioning the fifty year old facility.
The robot does the job traditionally undertaken by operators using manipulators whilst working through heavily shielded lead glass windows. The working area is very high in radiation - too high for people to access, so the robot does the job safely and much quicker, lowering the radiological hazards, plus providing consistency and reliability in a highly controlled environment.
The giant orange robot, built by Kuka Robotics UK Ltd, manoeuvres on a static turntable and is pre-programmed to remove the lid of the 500 litre waste drums, swab around the surface checking for traces of radioactive contamination and clean the top of the Magnox flask which stores the drums.
It operates like a giant portable pincer arm and is controlled remotely to maintain a safe, clean and secure process within the breeder packaging plant.
Inactive commissioning will be complete by the end of the financial year ready for the breeder removal operation to begin in summer 2012.
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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