Swedish power conglomerate Vattenfall said Tuesday it had signed a nuclear services contract with Westinghouse Electric Sweden that covers dismantling of reactor tanks in Ringhals Units 1 and 2 in southern Sweden. The agreement includes “reactor tanks and their internal parts as well as fuel racks,” the company said, noting “it is thus clear how these large radioactive components are to be dismantled and disposed of, which also sets the framework for other dismantling work at Ringhals 1 and 2.”
“The agreement is a so-called turnkey contract where the supplier is responsible for the entire work, given that Vattenfall´s demands are fulfilled,” said Katarina Gereborg, responsible for the procurement process at Vattenfall comments.
“We got several good offers but opted for Westinghouse Electric since they best met our evaluation criteria,” she said.
“With this agreement, we close the circle with safe dismantling of the reactors,” said Aziz Dag, chief executive officer of Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB, noting that ASEA Atom, constructed Ringhals Unit 1, a boiling water reactor, while Westinghouse, built Ringhals 2, a pressurized water reactor. Ringhals 1 was put into commercial operation in 1976, while Ringhals 1 was completed in 1975.
Ringhals Units 3 and 4, meanwhile, were ordered from Westinghouse in 1971 with construction beginning in 1972. Both are pressurized water reactors.
Subsequently, ASEA Atom has teamed up with Westinghouse, completing the construction to decommissioning cycle for Ringhals 1 and 2, Dag said.
The physical work of dismantling the large radioactive components at Ringhals 1 and 2 will start on 1 April 2023 at the earliest. At first, the internal parts of the reactor tank at Ringhals 1 will be segmented, followed by the internal parts at Ringhals 2. The internal parts are the most radioactive material and will be taken care of first in order to remove radioactivity from the facilities.
The work is to be performed with remote-controlled underwater tools in order to protect workers from radiation. Thereafter the reactor tanks will be segmented, starting at Ringhals 1. After this, the water will be emptied, and the tanks covered by a lid to protect from radiation leakage.
“In short, the tank is cut into rings from top to bottom with remotely controlled tools which are operated from a station inside the facility. The fuel racks are decontaminated and then cut down to manageable sizes.
In total the current components weigh around 1,500 metric tons of which a majority is radioactive. Highly active material such as nuclear fuel has been removed from the facilities when this work starts, and the remaining material is moderate or low radioactive,” Vattenfall said.
The material is segmented and packed in approved containers and is to be stored at the Ringhals site until the final repositories are extended. All material is disposed of with safety as top priority and in accordance with laws and regulations. Vattenfall estimates that the dismantling of Ringhals 1 and 2 will result in 340,000 metric tons of waste, of which 5 to 10 percent is radioactive.
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