UK site investigations nearing completion

26 September 2016

Extensive geotechnical and geophysical site characterization at the Moorside site in West Cumbria, UK, will be mostly complete by the end of the year, according to geotechnical survey specialists Fugro. The campaign has included onshore and offshore geological investigations.

Onshore seismic investigations for the Moorside project (Image: Fugro)

The survey work is being carried out to facilitate NuGeneration's (NuGen's) proposed construction of a new nuclear power plant at Moorside, near the Sellafield site. Including both marine surveys and onshore drilling, it is one of the largest UK site investigations to be let as a single package, according to Fugro.

Onshore and offshore characterization work has involved geotechnical, hydrological, topographical, geophysical and geo-environmental data acquisition with the aim of providing sufficient geological and geotechnical information to inform the detailed design of foundations and ancillary structures and to determine tunnel alignments. The data gathered from the surveys will also be used to support licensing, planning applications and other consents for the planned power station.

Five vessels have taken part in marine surveys that began in December 2015 and have included bathymetric surveys, borehole studies and seismic surveys.

The onshore drilling program has involved the drilling of 300 boreholes at depths of up to 220 metres to gather hydrogeological data, extract rock samples and carry out seismic studies.

Data from the land-based and marine studies will be used to provide a continuous "land-to-sea" profile to inform the infrastructure design and construction process. The land-based site characterization will be supplemented by drilling and groundwater monitoring to support radiological screening undertaken by Amec Foster Wheeler.

NuGen, the UK joint venture between Japan's Toshiba and France's Engie, plans to build a nuclear power plant of up to 3.8 GWe gross capacity at Moorside using Westinghouse AP1000 reactor technology.

Global geotechnical, survey, subsea and geosciences company Fugro's UK geotech companies were integrated into Fugro GeoServices Ltd last year. The company's facility for over-water drilling and marine construction equipment gained Fit For Nuclear (F4N) status from the UK's Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. The F4N award shows that a technology supplier meets an appropriate manufacturing and quality management standard for nuclear work, as assessed to internationally respected criteria.

Fugro has also recently carried out marine site characterization works for Horizon Nuclear Power's proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear site on the isle of Anglesey.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News