Five Notable Developments In Nuclear This Week 06.09.2019

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1. NDA subsumes Magnox Ltd

Magnox Ltd has been transferred from Cavendish Fluor Partnership, its previous Parent Body Organisation, to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). This marks a shift in management style and is designed to increase the value for money for the taxpayer. Gwen Parry-Jones OBE, Magnox’s new CEO, commented that ‘this is a very exciting time for Magnox. We have some fantastic talented people and being an NDA subsidiary gives us more opportunities to work closely as part of the NDA group, share ideas and take a more flexible approach to decommissioning the UK’s first generation of nuclear power stations.’

(Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Magnox Ltd, Magnox Ltd becomes a subsidiary of the NDA, 2 September 2019, Link)

2. First ships arrive at Hinkley Point C

The MV Aastun has delivered 6,000 tonnes of sand to Hinkley Point C. This is the first shipment of many and each delivery keeps 300 lorry loads off the road. The newly operational jetty will likely handle around 100,000 lorry loads over throughout its life. This will reduce the impact of construction on local ecosystems. This is one of the many measures introduced to Hinkley Point C’s environmental impact. Other steps taken include constructing underpasses for bats, otters and badgers on the A39’s new roundabout and the Cannington village bypass and using recycled industrial materials in their concrete mix.

(EDF Energy, First ships dock at Hinkley Point C, 3 September 2019, Link)

3. Sellafield’s Calder Hall completes defueling operations

An important milestone has been reached in the decommissioning of Sellafield. For the first time since the 1950s, the nuclear power station will be completely empty of nuclear fuel. A total of 38,953 spent fuel rods have been carefully removed from the station’s 4 reactors. The used fuel has been transferred in shielded flasks to Sellafield’s Fuel Handling Plant. Since the Queen’s opening of Calder Hall in 1956, Sellafield has provided 47 years of carbon-free electricity.

(Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, History made as final fuel leaves iconic nuclear plant, 3 September 2019, Link)

4. Hunterston B restart delayed again

Following conversations with the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Hunterston B has decided to return the service forecast date for Hunterston B Reactor 3 to the 15 January 2020. On 27 August 2019, it was announced that Reactor 4 and Turbine Generator 8 was safely and successfully resynchronised to the grid, however, the ONR decided that additional technical analysis needed to be conducted on Reactor 3.

(EDF Energy, Community update – Hunterston B, 3 September 2019, Link)

5. Coffee bags used as shields against radioactive gases

Chapelcross Site has begun using foil coffee bags in its decommissioning process. The packets were developed to keep coffee aroma locked in, however, they also prevent radioactive gases escaping. The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxford is responsible for developing the concept, and the discovery means that nuclear workers can safely seal radioactively contaminated waste into bags for easy handling.  Minister for Nuclear, Nadhim Zahawi, praised Chapelcross and Culham staff, stating ‘I am so impressed by the imagination of staff at Scotland’s first nuclear power station: taking inspiration from something as simple as a cup of coffee to help the UK remain at the cutting-edge of decommissioning – an industry which supports highly skilled jobs and regional economic growth.’

(Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Daily grind foiled at Chapelcross Site, 4 September 2019, Link)

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