Cavendish Nuclear has turned over the keys to the newly completed Silos Maintenance Facility on the Sellafield site in Britain, the Nuclear Industry Association reported.
The plant, which cost $330 million to build, took nine years to build and was completed ahead of schedule. It is designed as a multi-purpose equipment storage, maintenance and decontamination site to support the decommissioning of the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo (MSSS) and the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS) at the Sellafield site.
The MSSS was built in the 1960s and closed in 2000. It is a 16 meters deep silo that stores magnesium swarf waste leftover from Sellafield’s Magnox reactor fuel. The swarf waste is stored underwater.
In contrast, the PFCS unit is 21 meters high and is comprised of six storage compartments holding intermediate-level waste including 3,200 cubic meters of irradiated cladding from fuel assemblies used by the Windscale and Chapelcross reactors, Nuclear Engineering International said.
Among Cavendish Nuclear’s accomplishments: Construction workers built The Silo Maintenance Facility plant without a single incident resulting in lost work time. The facility took over 3 million labor-hours to build.
Earlier this month, it was announced that engineering teams had installed the equipment needed to scoop up and remove material from the PFCS, a 70-year-old unit that is a top decommissioning priority for Sellafield LTD and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Engineers originally designed the unit to be permanently sealed. This meant that “innovative ways of accessing and removing its inventory had to be developed,” said Sellafield Ltd., the government’s site-specific decommissioning service.
The retrieval equipment, contained in nine “huge modules” was lifted into place on top of the superstructure build on the side of the building. Waste removal is expected to begin in 2020. This year, waste retrieval trials are expected to begin.
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