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WATCH: Bulky items removed from Dounreay for disposal – alternative treatment option for the site’s metallic waste


By David G Scott

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Two large redundant items that were removed from Dounreay’s facilities have now left the site for disposal or diversion, opening up new waste routes.

Dounreay in partnership with Nuclear Waste Services and its contractor Cyclife first trialled an alternative treatment option for the site’s metallic waste in 2019, when 66 tonnes of redundant metal equipment were sent to Cyclife’s specialist facility for recycling.

Following this successful trial, a flask adaptor plug weighing 10 tonnes recently left site for the recycling facility.

Bulk waste transport at Dounreay. Picture: DSRL
Bulk waste transport at Dounreay. Picture: DSRL

DSRL assistant project manager Catherine Strathdee said: "Now that this route is available to us, we will use it regularly to recycle large items that are too large to fit inside standard waste containers."

Cyclife managing director Joe Robinson added: "Cyclife is delighted to have supported DSRL and Nuclear Waste Services over the last three years to enable the DSRL mission. The project team has developed a strong integrated and collaborative working environment, which has contributed to the success of the project."

Dounreay is also trialling other waste routes that are available when recycling is not feasible. This includes disposal of a redundant supercompactor unit, removed from a waste facility in 2011, which has now been successfully transported offsite for disposal in a suitable licensed landfill site in England.

Frame grab from a DSRL video showing the waste work.
Frame grab from a DSRL video showing the waste work.

This is a new offsite disposal option that will enable Dounreay to dispose of items with low specific activity that are not suitable for recycling due to the presence of other hazardous substances or disposal within the low-level waste vaults. To make this happen, Dounreay has collaborated with Nuclear Waste Services, Cyclife UK Ltd, a strategic waste partner and Augean, the landfill owner.

These new waste routes will minimise the number of low-level waste vaults that the site will need as it is decommissioned.

DSRL head of waste operations, Alistair Ross, said: "Offsite diversion and disposal options for our waste are key to the successful decommissioning of the Dounreay site. These ensure that the waste is disposed of or recycled through the most appropriate route that provides safe, compliant disposition coupled with value for money and offers decommissioning projects alternatives to disposal to the low-level waste vaults or interim storage."

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