Babcock to tackle Berkeley waste

01 September 2011

Babcock has been awarded a contract by Magnox for an intermediate-level waste (ILW) retrieval and processing project at the Berkeley site in the UK.


Berkeley (Magnox)
Berkeley (Image: Magnox)
The contract has been awarded under the Magnox ILW Management Program, for which a framework contract was awarded to Babcock by Magnox in February 2011. ILW comprises a range of material including debris from the fuel elements, resins, sludges and graphite.


Under the new contract, Babcock will be undertaking ILW retrieval and processing of the fuel element debris from the Active Waste Vault 2 at the Berkeley site. The £14 million ($23 million) project will take some four years to complete.


Babcock said that key areas to be addressed under the contract include the fuel element debris retrieval from Vault 2 and the waste transfer module which will facilitate the transport of the waste to the sorting module, where low-level waste (LLW) and ILW can be separated. The waste can then be prepared for packaging in containers.


The initial contracted phase involves concept design through to completion of the engineering design. Phase two will include the detail design, manufacture, integrated works testing, installation and inactive and active commissioning. Once the equipment has been formally accepted, the third and final phase of the project will cover the operation of the installed plant to remove the fuel element debris, and carry out the sorting and packaging into the appropriate containers.


Babcock said that it is "one of six companies to be awarded a framework contract for ILW retrieval and processing work across all the Magnox sites, and one of only three to have secured a contract for both solid and wet wastes." The value of the framework contract (within which individual projects are competed) is expected to be £300 million ($480 million) over ten years. The company noted that the Berkeley contract is one of the first projects to be competed under this framework.


Nuvia Ltd - which has also been appointed by Magnox to the framework contract - was awarded a contract in late June for the retrieval and processing of ILW from the chute silo at the Berkeley site. The contract pertains to the retrieval of "miscellaneous activated components" from the silo and packing them into shielded containers.


In December 2010, the two Magnox reactors at Berkeley became the first UK units to be placed in Safestore, a passive state during which they will be monitored and maintained until the site is completely cleared in about 65 years' time. With the fuel already having been removed from the reactors, final dismantlement is scheduled to begin in 2074, by which time the residual radioactivity will have decreased significantly.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News


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