Safely decommissioning a 1950s nuclear waste storage facility
A Bechtel joint venture is performing critical nuclear-waste work at the Sellafield nuclear site in northwest England.
Bechtel Cavendish Nuclear Solutions designed, fabricated, and is installing silo doors and waste retrieval and handling modules for the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo Retrieval project under contract to Sellafield Ltd. The project is part of a UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority program to decommission nuclear storage facilities dating to the early 1950s.
The project entails the detailed design, procurement, manufacture, works testing, delivery to site, installation and commissioning of silo doors and waste retrieval and handling modules, together with a hole-cutting system.
Inside the project
Commissioned for use in 1952, the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo received and safely stored radioactive cladding―pieces of metal tubes—used for uranium fuel rods in some of the UK's earliest nuclear reactors―first from military projects and later power plants. Other debris was added, and by 1964 the silo was full.
- The Pile Fuel Cladding Silo is 69 feet (21 meters) tall and houses six compartments that hold some 4,200 cubic yards (more than 3,200 cubic meters) of intermediate-level waste.
- Upgrade work completed in the 1990s made it possible for this silo and other structures to continue storing waste safely.
- The job at hand is safely retrieving the waste and storing it in highly secure concrete containers.
Three-phases of the project
- Mobilization and project familiarization
- Completing design, specifications, procurement packages, and safety-case support
- Procurement, manufacture, works testing, construction, installation, and commissioning