Magnox completes decontamination at Bradwell

30 June 2016

Bradwell has become the first Magnox site to empty and decontaminate all of its underground waste storage vaults ready for the care and maintenance phase, Magnox Sites has announced. Owned by Cavendish Fluor Partnership, Magnox Sites is the management and operations contractor responsible for safely managing 12 nuclear sites and one hydroelectric plant in the UK working for the sites' owner, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Decommissioning of Bradwell's two 125 MWe Magnox reactors has been under way since the plant shut down in 2002 after 40 years of service. All fuel was removed from the site by 2005, and the turbine hall demolished in 2011.

The company said yesterday that waste, including metal, sand and sludge, was stored in 18 different vaults during the site’s operational phase. One of the primary aims of decommissioning has been to safely recover that waste, characterise it and find the most suitable treatment or disposal route.

Scott Raish, closure director, said: "This work isn't as obvious to see in the local area as some of the big construction and demolition projects we have delivered, but completion represents a significant reduction in the radiological risk we are managing."

The recovered waste has been monitored and characterised, which has "provided the clearest picture yet" of the total volume of waste that will need to be managed at Bradwell, according to the statement. Some is being treated in a specially designed dissolution plant, while other types of waste are being conditioned and then packaged ready for interim storage until a national geological disposal facility is available.

With the vaults empty, a total area of 972 square metres has now been decontaminated to a level where it can be left for care and maintenance. In addition, three vessels, each weighing seven tonnes, have been removed and size-reduced while more than 60 waste vault covers have also been decontaminated, Magnox Sites said. The area will now be covered for the care and maintenance phase before being completely removed as part of final site clearance in the future.

Peter Lutwyche, NDA Chief Operating Officer, said: "Not only does this step ensure that Bradwell's waste can be treated and managed safely but the learning gained will also benefit decommissioning at the other Magnox sites. My thanks go to the Magnox team for achieving this milestone."

Under the strategic siting assessment process, Bradwell was approved in 2011 as a site for new build. In connection with the Hinkley Point agreement in October 2015, EDF and CGN agreed to form a joint venture company to advance plans for a new plant at Bradwell and seek regulatory approval - through the Generic Design Assessment process - for a UK version of the Chinese-designed Hualong One reactor.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News