UK-based Amec Foster Wheeler has won a GBP7m ($9m) contract from Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) to provide a new effluent treatment plant for the Dounreay nuclear site in the UK. DSRL is responsible for decommissioning the former centre of fast reactor research and development in Caithness, Scotland. The new plant is a key link in the chain to enable the retrieval, processing and packaging of waste from the Dounreay shaft and wet silo, both historical waste stores. The objective of the overall programme is to render the waste suitable for long-term storage and disposal.

Meanwhile, the last of the higher activity liquid waste produced during Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) fuel reprocessing has been made safe marking an important milestone in the immobilisation of the historic liquid waste, known as raffinate. The achievement came shortly after Dounreay announced that all of the reactor’s liquid metal coolant had been destroyed.

Dounreay’s Waste Director, Bruce Covert, welcomed the news: “Encapsulation of 232 cubic metres of DFR raffinate is a significant achievement for the whole site, with the material grouted and suitable for long term storage in 875 drums.

“This is a good example of everyone at Dounreay working together as one team to safely deliver one programme, ensuring the project remained on schedule with minimal interruptions.”

Batches of liquor were remotely transferred from underground tanks to a cementation plant.  Here it was neutralised and mixed with cement powder inside 500-litre drums in a remote handling facility, making it passively safe for long-term storage or disposal. The cementation plant will now undergo some engineering modifications and enhancements before the workforce begin to immobilise the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) raffinate.