Cavendish Nuclear To Complete Dounreay Decommissioning

British nuclear power services company Cavendish Nuclear, said it had won the contract to dismantling and demolition Scotland’s oldest nuclear reactor, the Dounreay Materials Test Reactor. The multi-million dollar contract was awarded following a competitive tendering exercise, the company noted.

Dounreay ReactorDounreay Site Restoration Ltd., the site license company responsible for the clean up and closure of the site "awarded the multi-million pound contract ... for the final phase of decommissioning," the company said.

The company expects the final decommissioning phase to take three years, including the complete removal of the reactor.

DMTR became Scotland’s first operating reactor when it achieved criticality in 1958. It was used for irradiation tests on materials until its shutdown in 1969. The fuel, heavy-water coolant and redundant plant have been removed, leaving the reactor vessel, supports and containment shell ready for final removal.

Cavendish Nuclear will combine proven, off-the-shelf technology with tight controls on radiological exposure and radioactive contamination to safely remove the remaining structures from the inside out.

Expected low dose rates remove the need for complex, remotely-operated tooling and allow for stricter segregation at source of different waste streams, avoiding the unnecessary and costly accumulation of contaminated material.

Cavendish Nuclear has appointed JGC Engineering and Technical Services, Veolia through its subsidiary KDC, and Frazer-Nash Consultancy as its key supply chain partners.

Caithness-based JGC will carry out the removal of equipment and decommissioning of the reactor block. The company is one of the most experienced in decommissioning work at the site, and recently completed the removal of the adjoining D1251 ancillary building as well as numerous other decommissioning projects over many years across the Dounreay site.

JGC will be supported by local subcontractors Gunn’s of Lybster, Caithness Scaffolding and Hugh Simpson Ltd during the works phase.

Veolia/KDC is currently decommissioning a similar research reactor in the UK – the Consort facility at Imperial College in Ascot, using the same proven techniques to size reduce the reactor into blocks that will be deployed for this project. Veolia/KDC is one of the leading demolition contractors in the UK, particularly on the civil nuclear sector, having successfully delivered numerous decommissioning projects around the NDA estate.

Frazer-Nash, a subsidiary of Babcock International Group, will augment Cavendish Nuclear’s safety case and engineering capabilities.

Cavendish Nuclear and its partners have pledged to source materials and services from local sub-contractors as part of a commitment to the socio-economic development of Dounreay’s supply chain and wider Caithness community, the company said.

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