Bespoke glovebox project supports transatlantic transfer of nuclear material

Wood designed, built and commissioned equipment and facilities used to repackage nuclear material so that it could be transported across the Atlantic.

The UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the USA’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recently announced the successful completion of the export programme.

A suite of bespoke gloveboxes was built within a purpose-built, seismically qualified structure inside an existing facility, so that the highly enriched uranium (HEU) could be handled safely within a controlled environment at the Dounreay nuclear site in Scotland, UK.

Working with the team at site operators Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, Wood was responsible for all aspects of the engineering including process, civil, HVAC and control and instrumentation design. The company’s criticality and shielding team carried out hundreds of software calculations to demonstrate process safety covering both radiation protection and criticality.

Andy White, vice president (decommissioning) at Wood, said: “Wood and its partners in the UK’s nuclear supply chain rose to this technically demanding challenge and we are proud to see that the programme has reached a successful conclusion.”

Manufacturing of the gloveboxes was supported by Wood’s partners: Caithness-based Gow’s Lybster Ltd, Hampshire-based Aquila Nuclear Engineering and Oldham-based Universal Fabrications (North West) Ltd.

The completed transfer of around 700kg of HEU from Dounreay, in the north of Scotland, to the US was announced by the NDA and NNSA on May 3, 2019.

The HEU transfer was part of the UK Government’s commitment to the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington DC.

NDA CEO, David Peattie, thanked the staff from Dounreay Site Restoration Limited, counterparts from the US Department of Energy and the other agencies involved with coordinating the movement of the material, for their commitment and hard work.

David Peattie said: “The successful completion of the complex work to transfer HEU is an important milestone in the programme to decommission and clean up Dounreay Site.”

The HEU will be down-blended in the US to be used as fuel in civil nuclear reactors — for entirely peaceful purposes.

The US is sending a different form of the material to Europe, where it will be used as research reactor fuel and in the production of medical isotopes.

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, US Department of Energy Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator, added: “This joint effort highlights our strong cooperation and mutual non-proliferation goals.”

The removal is an element of a worldwide effort to increase nuclear security by reducing HEU inventories. It also is part of a 2014 agreement between DOE/NNSA and the Euratom Supply Agency to reduce HEU while supporting medical isotope production and research reactors in Europe.

Matthew Smith, Wood

Источник: eurosafe-forum 5.2019