One of the most significant hazards at Dounreay has been removed in a 40-hour operation, using cutting-edge tools designed and made in Caithness. Around 1810 litres of radioactive sodium coolant (some 1.7 tonnes) remaining in a “heel” pool at the base of the reactor vessel in the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) has been pumped out. It paves the way for the next step in the decommissioning of PFR to take place. The project has been described as “Dounreay at its best”, and Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) says it showcases the high-quality design and engineering skills available in Caithness-based companies. The DSRL project team worked closely with the supply chain to develop an innovative technical solution to the removal of the sodium. Since the heel was difficult to access, a flexible 65m long pumping and camera system that could operate in temperatures of several hundred degrees had to be designed, manufactured and tested.
John O’Groat Journal 19th July 2021 read more »