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Contract for Scotland’s oldest nuclear reactor awarded


The contract to dismantle Scotland’s oldest nuclear reactor has been awarded. 

The Dounreay Materials Test Reactor (DMTR) was the first operational nuclear reactor in the country, achieving criticality in 1958, and will be decommissioned by Cavendish Nuclear and its partners.  

The three-year contract has now been awarded to Cavendish Nuclear and its partners, local firm JGC Engineering, KDC and Frazer-Nash Consultancy, for the dismantling of the reactor block and demolition of the structure. 

This is the culmination of a decade-long project to remove the internal structures from the reactor and its support buildings including a fuel storage pond, waste drum store and post-irradiation examination cells. 

The DMTR was the first of three reactors at the Dounreay Nuclear Power Development Establishment, and was used to test the effects of the performance of materials under intense neutron irradiation.  

Dounreay project manager Bill Lambie said the site will be an important demonstration of the progress being made in decommissioning works.  

“When DMTR was constructed in the late 1950s, it was technologically advanced and innovative,” he said. “60years on, its demolition will be an important demonstration of the decommissioning progress being made at Dounreay.” 

The other two reactors on site in Dounreay provided power, the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) was the second reactor to come online and produced 600M KWh of energy between 1962 and 1977. 

The last reactor, the Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) supplied power to the National Grid from 1975 to 1994, producing 9,250 GWh in total .  

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