Four top duct sections have been processed through Sellafield’s metal recycling facility (MRF), as part of a six-year project that will save the company £360,000 in disposal costs.
Processing the four 10t items in this way will generate over £15,000 in category two income for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), ultimately offsetting the costs to UK taxpayers for the decommissioning and operations of the site.
The ducts, which comprise a straight and an elbow shaped section, are approximately 6m in length and 1.5m wide. They were used to transfer hot gas from the reactor to the heat exchanger which then generated steam to power the turbine.
In total, 32 ducts from the four reactors will be removed and processed through MRF over the next six years, with the team now completing the fourth duct.
Metals recycling manufacturing manager Gareth Kendal said: “Once the ducts have been decontaminated, the MRF reduces the material in a cutting booth using plasma arc equipment and a variety of cold cutting techniques.
“The size reduced pieces were then moved into the wheelabrator – a facility used to mechanically remove the outer surface of contaminated steel to clean the metal for recycling in line with nuclear industry code of practice regulations.”
Manufacturing metals recycling and intermediate level waster manager Simon Rowe said: “This is a tremendous achievement for the metals recycling facility and for Sellafield, as this avoids filling the current low level waste repository (LLWR).
“Completing recycling projects of this nature in the long term supports the LLWR strategy in the avoidance of building a second repository. This type of project underpins the solid waste hierarchy of recycling as opposed to disposal of waste. By utilising the waste hierarchy we can all make a difference to ensure a safe and clean environment for Sellafield site and future generations.”