FACED WITH A GROWING BILL to clear away the legacy of radioactive waste from the country’s first generation of nuclear power plant, the UK government posed industry a question. Could the cost be lowered without reducing the standards of protection for the public and environment? Magnox and Research Sites Restoration Limited, the two site licence companies responsible for 12 legacy plants, had already shaved costs from their programme. Cavendish Fluor Partnership, a transatlantic joint venture that managed the sites from September 2014 to August 2019, looked at their plans and concluded there was scope for more. The group challenged historical assumptions. Did it really need so many separate facilities to store the higher-activity waste until a national facility was ready? Could it reduce costs without lowering standards by introducing more cost effective shielded containers and consolidating those at fewer storage locations using a standard design? Could divers be deployed to speed up pond clearance following removal of the fuel? Was there a better balance between decontamination and disposal? The answer was yes. Applying techniques and innovation learned by industry in the UK and the USA, and using an organisational delivery model to allow for repeatable solutions to waste problems (a programmised approach), the Cavendish Fluor Partnership came up with a new plan that offered lower costs and quicker results.
Nuclear Engineering International 18th Feb 2020 read more »