M+W Group appointed for Dounreay atomic waste dump decommissioning

Dounreay atomic site
Dounreay atomic site

By DARA BUTTERFIELD

M+W Group – a global engineering conglomerate – has been appointed as the lead design and safety case consultant for the Dounreay nuclear waste shaft and silo decommissioning project by Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) in Caithness.

Used for over 40 years to store highly radioactive waste generated during the operation of Dounreay, the 65 metre deep shaft is the deepest storage area of its kind in the world.

It has become a byword for sloppy safety practices and nuclear safety scares.

Decommissioning both the shaft and silo – including safe retrieval of the waste from both these facilities, its repackaging and the clean-up – will present a number of unique and major technical and engineering challenges over the term of the seven-year contract.

The project will establish new retrieval, processing and packaging facilities that will enable waste from the Dounreay Shaft and Silo to be treated safely and securely, rendering it suitable for long-term storage and future disposal.

Mike Gearhart, Project Director, said: “DSRL is excited to begin the next stage of decommissioning the Shaft and Silo. The design and safety case production are key deliverables for our external stakeholders to ensure we are proceeding safely to reduce the risk posed by the nuclear material currently consigned to the Shaft and Silo.”

Key to securing the award was M+W Group’s innovative design and project management approach, as well as the company’s commitment to utilising and developing the UK’s nuclear industry supply chain.

For the Dounreay project, M+W Group’s team will comprise key design partners; Oxford Technologies Ltd, 3T Safety Consultants and Sanderson Watts Associates.

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