Magnox Ltd has announced the successful decontamination of ponds used to store used nuclear fuel at the former Bradwell nuclear power plant in Essex, England.
|Decontamination of Bradwell's ponds took four years (Image: Magnox)
The clean-up work has taken four years to complete, with over 10,000 square metres of walls, floors and ceilings in the site's pond complex decontaminated.
Ponds Project Manager Trevor Frost said: "This has been a major achievement in preparing the site for eventual closure. During the project, more than 2.5 kilometres of pipework was deplanted and more than 120 tonnes of metal waste was recovered and appropriately disposed of."
During the plant's operating life the ponds were used to temporarily store and cool used fuel before it was sent to the Sellafield complex for reprocessing. The ponds were drained and stabilised in 2012, with work continuing to remove redundant equipment and decontaminate the rest of the associated buildings and infrastructure.
The redundant ponds building and remaining ancillary buildings are to be demolished, and weatherproof cladding installed over the remaining reactor buildings as the site moves towards care and maintenance when they will be kept in a passively safe and secure state. This will allow radiation levels to decay naturally over time, resulting in simpler and more cost-effective decommissioning at final site clearance.
Bradwell's two 125 MWe Magnox reactors operated from 1962 to 2002, generating nearly 60 TWh of electricity during the plant's 40-year lifetime. The site is following an accelerated decommissioning program and is now more than halfway through work that should see it become the first reactor site in the UK to enter care and maintenance.
The reactors were defueled by the end of 205 and all fuel was subsequently removed from the site. The turbine hall was demolished in 2011. Earlier this year Bradwell became the first Magnox site to empty and decontaminate all of its underground waste storage vaults.
Magnox Ltd is owned and operated by Cavendish Fluor Partnership on behalf of the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News