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8t purge unit is successfully installed in Sellafield legacy pond facility

A significant step forward has been taken in hazard reduction work on the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond at Sellafield with the delivery of a pond purge unit to treat the pond water and reduce dose uptake to workers during future retrieval operations. 

Following successful off-site construction and testing of the pond purge unit in October 2009, delivery to site was delayed as an increase in its final weight meant that the ground loading calculations had to be re-checked to demonstrate there was no threat to adjacent facilities and that the rigorous safety case was still acceptable.

Getting the unit into place was a challenge in itself – travelling on a low loader, it had to fit under several pipebridges on the site to get to its destination. However once in place, the unit was installed by a specially modified 15t telehandler.

In order to control the hazards associated with a combined weight of 23t manoeuvring in an extremely tight space, the telehandler was restricted to less than 8km/h, and had a remote emergency stop. In addition, the team practiced the manoeuvre in a mocked-up facility off site, so that on the day it went onto its concrete slab without a single hitch.

The new pipework, services and cabling to connect to the new unit are well advanced and the team’s current goal is to finish these before final commissioning, training and handover to the operations team at the start of May. Following successful installation and commissioning, the unit is currently being run for a three month test period to confirm its effectiveness, before being converted to a permanent installation.

Sellafield project manager Steve Bruce said: “This is a joint Sellafield and ACKtiv venture, involving hard work against the clock from many teams within these organisations, as well as our sub-contractors; Gravatom, Shepley, PPS, AMEC and Hertel. The fact that the unit is now safely installed is testament to their industry, vigilance and co-operation. We look forward now to setting the unit to work.”

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