Five years of major hazard reduction

Cavendish Nuclear today enters its sixth year in charge of one of the world’s most demanding nuclear site closure contracts.

The UK’s largest nuclear services business is the lead partner in the Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, the parent body organisation appointed in April 2012 to manage the clean-up and closure of the UK’s fast reactor experiment in northern Scotland.

The partnership directs the work carried out by site licence company DSRL to reduce and eliminate the major hazards at the site.

Hazard reduction milestone since 2012 include:

  • Destruction of the highly toxic liquid metal used as coolant in the experimental Dounreay Fast Reactor
  • Making safe for future generations the highly radioactive waste liquor from the historic reprocessing of research reactor and Dounreay Fast Reactor spent fuels
  • The return to national stocks of special nuclear materials in a series of high-security transports
  • The clearance of solid low-level radioactive waste following the open of the first two underground disposal vaults

There’s still a huge amount of work left to do, as DSRL Managing Director Phil Craig readily acknowledges.

He took up the post of managing director at Dounreay after a spell in charge of the EDF Energy account at Cavendish Nuclear. The chair of DSRL is Simon Bowen, Managing Director of Cavendish Nuclear.

“After five years we can point to demonstrable hazard reduction on every front, from the destruction of liquid metals to the immobilisation of raffinates and the removal of special nuclear materials,” said Phil.

“We’ve managed the addition of substantial new scope of work – the consolidation of the UK’s inventory of civil plutonium and uranium - while maintaining progress against the milestones agreed with NDA.

“None of this would be possible without the commitment and professionalism of a dedicated site licence company workforce, the skills and strengths in depth of the parent body partners and the support and challenge of our customer, the NDA, to deliver what we promise.”

The work added to the programme since 2012 to remove the special nuclear materials means the date for completion of the site clean-up is now 2030-33.

Cavendish Nuclear’s partners at Dounreay are CH2 and AECOM.