Jacobs wins contract to clean up Dounreay shaft and silo

9 March 2021

US-based Jacobs and its supporting partners have been awarded a six-year contract to provide a design management team to produce a fully integrated design for the shaft and silo project at the UK’s Dounreay site in Scotland, formerly a centre for fast reactor research but now undergoing decommissioning. “This includes assisting with the management of several design and build work packages. While some of the contract will be delivered remotely, Jacobs will also sub-contract work to local companies, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) said on 4 March.

The contract forms part of a series of contracts to be awarded through the site’s decommissioning framework and heralds the beginning of work on the shaft and silo. In 2020 Nuvia Ltd and its partner Graham Construction were awarded a contract for “advanced transition works”. There are likely to be further major contracts awarded over the next 12 months, DSRL added.

Radioactive waste was historically consigned to the 65-metre-deep shaft and the silo, an underground waste storage vault, over several decades starting in the late 1950s. The silo is a large underground vault with a concrete roof. Both were used for disposal of intermediate-level waste in the 1960s and 1970s, but now the solid waste and liquid effluent they contain needs to be removed to a safe, modern storage facility.

“The shaft and silo contain legacy wastes that must be emptied, and the waste repackaged for long term storage, before the site can be closed. These contracts are one step closer to the clean-up of these historical waste stores,” said DSRL’s Programme Delivery Director, David Hubbard. "By deploying our design engineering and programme management capabilities alongside DSRL we will weave together several complex and challenging projects to ensure safe and efficient delivery," said Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions International Senior Vice President Clive White. "This work aims to bring about tangible progress toward the clean-up of Dounreay."

DSRL estimates the contract value at $10.4 million over 6.5 years, with potential for additional revenue as additional work packages are identified. Berkshire Engineering, which is based near Dounreay, will assist with test and trials work.

Image: The Dounreay shaft

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