A collaborative partnership of Spencer, Atkins and Studsvik has been awarded design contracts to process intermediate level nuclear waste from decommissioning of the UK’s magnox nuclear power stations.

The companies have been asked to design solutions to retrieve, and process intermediate level waste associated with the nuclear programme. The management of these wastes is technically challenging because of the high volume, high radiological content and chemical reactivity.

For Chapelcross and Dungeness A sites, the partnership is designing the infrastructure to retrieve and package waste from the site’s cooling ponds. During electricity generating operations, water-filled ponds (which have been emptied and are being drained) were used to cool and store spent nuclear fuel before it was sent to Sellafield in Cumbria for reprocessing.

For a Hunterston A site, in Ayrshire, they are reviewing design concepts for a facility to inject grout into the waste containers to immobilise the solid intermediate level waste (ILW) before it is stored on-site in the ILW store. Spencer is leading the contract, with Atkins providing detailed technical and engineering support associated with the engineering schemes, and Studsvik supplying expertise in shielding and ventilation.

Kevin Griffiths, Proposal Director Engineering said: “This is a key strategic win for Spencer and highlights our commitment to working within this very exciting industry. We have ensured we have the right mix of skills by identifying strong nuclear partners in the form of Atkins and Studsvik to ensure we deliver the right solution to our client Magnox”

Phil Sprague, Magnox ILW Programme Director, said: “One of our key focus areas is to reduce the hazards associated with legacy operational waste materials as we work towards delivering our sites into a state of care and maintenance. This contract is an important part of that work.”

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