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Dounreay awards contract for world’s deepest nuclear clean-up to Nuvia


By John Davidson

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The 65m deep shaft at Dounreay where the advanced transition works will take place.
The 65m deep shaft at Dounreay where the advanced transition works will take place.

Work to remove waste from a shaft at Dounreay will begin later this year after a major contract was awarded at the former nuclear facility.

Dounreay has awarded the decommissioning contract as it prepares for the world’s deepest nuclear clean-up job.

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), awarded the £7.5 million contract for “advanced transition works” at the 65m-deep shaft and silo to Nuvia and its partner Graham Construction.

The work will include the rerouting of existing services as well as minor construction and demolition works, preparing the two waste facilities to be emptied of legacy higher activity waste.

DSRL programme delivery director David Hubbard said: “The shaft and silo contain solid waste and sludge which must be retrieved and repackaged for safe above-ground storage. I’m very pleased that we are one step closer to the clean-up of these historic waste facilities through the award of this contract.”

Work on the site is expected to begin later in the autumn, while the company has been begun delivering remote activities.

Nuvia's Dounreay business manager David Craig said: “It’s a challenging project. Many interfaces need to be managed, services maintained, and the environment controlled throughout the delivery of the project. It has taken time to ensure everything has been done correctly and that everyone concerned is happy with the final solution to a project so critical to future decommissioning operations on site.”

The contract was the first of the site's £400 million decommissioning services framework agreement and was awarded following a competitive tendering process. DSRL says Nuvia is an international nuclear engineering, project management, products and services contractor.

Nuvia's project manager, Paul Stewart, who will oversee the safe and timely execution of this potentially hazardous work, said: “This inaugural contract on the decommissioning services framework is a great win for Nuvia, and I’d like to express my gratitude to everyone involved in making this happen, not just within Nuvia but also Graham Construction and DSRL too.

"It has been a concerted team effort to get this multi-faceted project to this stage, and I’m looking forward to continuing to develop this team ethos as we get the works under way.”

DSRL is the site licence company responsible for the clean-up and demolition of Britain’s former centre of fast reactor research and development. A wholly-owned subsidiary of the Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, it is funded by the NDA to deliver the site closure programme.


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