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Sellafield could use metal printing in decomissioning effort

Sellafield is looking to maximise use of 3D metal printing in its decommissioning drive.

The firm that runs the nuclear plant in Cumbria held a conference to investigate ways of using the process.

Very fine layers of metal powder can be fused together with a focused laser beam to create parts and components. Sellafield has already used 3D blue-LED scanning technology to design a lid for a 40-tonne solid waste export flask, which is used to ship radioactive sludge across the site.

Sellafield managing director Tony Price said: “These emerging technologies are hugely exciting for the future legacy of our nation and the nuclear sector, and I’m proud to be able to say we were the first nuclear company to adopt them. It proves that Sellafield can stay at the forefront of the world’s nuclear industry.”

He added: “The quality of definition of these printers means that the products they produce are actually more accurate, stronger, and more reliable than parts made using traditional techniques. This is a really exciting development for us.”

The Sellafield decommissioning programme reached a landmark recently when the 100th building on the site was demolished.

Meanwhile an agreement was signed that could see contractors currently working on the Cumbria project securing contracts on the Fukushima clean-up in Japan.

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