First Major Radioactive Waste Stream Recovery Completed
A groundbreaking project to retrieve radioactive waste materials at Trawsfynydd Site has been completed ahead of schedule with a saving of almost £0.5m.
This is the first waste retrieval project of its kind to be completed on a UK nuclear power station.
Staff at the site, which is operated by Magnox Limited* on behalf of the site’s owner – the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority - completed work to empty underground vaults containing ‘Miscellaneous Activated Components’ (MAC).
MAC consists mainly of steel and graphite components from within the nuclear reactors which became highly radioactive during the generating life of the power station. This ‘intermediate level waste’ was stored in two vaults beneath the reactor buildings which were constructed when the station was built, almost fifty years ago.
Retrieval of the waste was carried out in extremely challenging conditions, in an area containing high levels of radioactive contamination which could not be directly accessed by the site’s decommissioning teams. Innovative retrieval techniques included using remote operated vehicles with an array of tools to pack the waste into 3m3 stainless steel boxes ready for intermediate storage within a shielded concrete overpack in a specially constructed on-site facility.
30 boxes have been filled with over 35 tonnes of waste during the project which was delivered two months early and with a saving of £473,222.
Site Director Dr. Phil Sprague, said: ”This is a significant milestone in the journey towards the safe decommissioning of Trawsfynydd Site. By pioneering the innovative use of various technologies we have delivered the project safely [without any lost time accidents], ahead of time and significantly under budget.”
Glenn Vaughan, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Site Programme Manager added: “Completion of the recovery of MAC from the vaults at Trawsfynydd is a significant event for the site, representing completion of the first bulk ILW waste stream. The safety record during project execution has been exemplary maintaining a clear commitment to the highest standards.
“This opens the way for recovery and encapsulation of residual dust and Safe Store preparation and the ongoing progress towards care and maintenance, and is a first class example of developing capability throughout the programme to deliver value to the NDA"
Notes to editors:
*Trawsfynydd Site is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and operated by Magnox Limited Ltd. Magnox Limited is owned by EnergySolutions Inc. Visit www.magnoxsites.com for more information
Trawsfynydd Site began generating electricity in 1965 and operated safely until 1993. Various waste retrieval projects are underway simultaneously at the site, with MAC retrieval work starting in 2001.