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Nuclear company to stage open day at Bower base to showcase its capabilities to clients

By Gordon Calder

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A COMPANY which is playing a key role in the decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear site is to hold an open day at its Bower premises next week.

James Fisher Nuclear (JFN) is staging the event for clients and stakeholders only on Wednesday when guests will see a demonstration of the UK’s first full scale test rig. It is used to trial and test fully remote nuclear reactor segmentation operations designed, developed and manufactured by the company.

Also on display at the building – previously run by Nicolson Engineering –will be remotely-operated vehicles, virtual reality demonstrations, radiation scanning and decontamination techniques.

Industry experts from JFN and its partners in Nuclear Decommissioning Ltd (NDL) will provide advice and support throughout the event.

James Fisher Nuclear rig hall at Bower
James Fisher Nuclear rig hall at Bower

A JFN spokesman said that for almost 40 years the company has provided specialist equipment and technical services in high hazard nuclear environments and offers a range of services from concept design, manufacture, trials and testing to on-site installation and commissioning.

The spokesman said: “Our investment in Bower rig hall with over 2,000 metres of testing space was the start of the company’s commitment to the Caithness community with the intent to not only support its local clients as part of its joint venture with NDL but its whole client base creating a business model that prioritises the retention and development of local skills.

“At Bower, we are currently housing the UK’s first full scale test rig to be used for demonstrating fully remote nuclear reactor segmentation operations. The process and tooling were all designed and built by JFN for a major UK client. This approach will help to secure ongoing employment of local personnel and create a sustainable future for our supply chain partner employees and their families.”

He stressed that before any equipment is deployed in a nuclear environment and prior to on-site commissioning a number of tests, mock trials and simulations are carried out to ensure the equipment can perform the job it is intended to do. “That saves time and money,” said the spokesman.

Inside the Bower rig hall
Inside the Bower rig hall

NDL is a joint venture company comprising four leading organisations in the UK nuclear decommissioning sector including JFN, REACT Engineering, Shepley Engineering Ltd and Tetra-Tech. NDL was established at the start of 2019 for the purpose of supporting the nuclear legacy clean-up of Dounreay and is co-located in the JFN Bower rig hall. NDL also manages a range of supply chain partners, including those in Caithness and the surrounding area.

Peter Greenhalgh, managing director of JFN said.”Following significant investment, we and our NDL partners are very pleased to be at a point of being able to host an open day for our clients and stakeholders to showcase our capabilities in our market leading Bower facility. We benefit greatly from the support we have from the Caithness community and the excellent skilled local people we have employed.”

The company will be playing a key role in the engineering, project and commercial management for the decommissioning programme, working alongside its NDL consortium partners. JFN is part of James Fisher and Sons plc, a leading provider of marine and engineering services.

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