Cavendish Nuclear, the UK’s leading nuclear services business, is to carry out the dismantling and demolition of Scotland’s oldest nuclear reactor.
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, the site licence company responsible for the clean-up and closure of the former nuclear research facility, awarded the multi-million pound contract to Cavendish Nuclear for the final phase of decommissioning the Dounreay Materials Test Reactor (DMTR) following a competitive tendering exercise.
Working with key supply chain partners, Cavendish Nuclear expects to take three years to complete the removal of the reactor.
Cavendish Nuclear director Natalie Nisbet said, “I am delighted our innovative and collaborative approach to reactor dismantling, using proven and cost-effective technology in conjunction with the local supply chain, will deliver the greatest skyline change seen at Dounreay for many years.”
DMTR became Scotland’s first operating reactor when it achieved criticality in 1958. It was used for irradiation tests on materials until its shutdown in 1969. The fuel, heavy-water coolant and redundant plant have been removed, leaving the reactor vessel, supports and containment
shell ready for final removal.
Cavendish Nuclear will combine proven, off-the-shelf technology with tight controls on radiological exposure and radioactive contamination to safely remove the remaining structures from the inside out. Expected low dose rates remove the need for complex, remotely-operated tooling and allow
for stricter segregation at source of different waste streams, avoiding the unnecessary and costly accumulation of contaminated material.
Cavendish Nuclear and its partners have pledged to source materials and services from local sub-contractors as part of a commitment to the socio-economic development of Dounreay’s supply chain and wider Caithness community.