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Wed December 08 2021

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Balfour Beatty lands £34m deal to bury Hunterston nuclear waste

26 Sep 14 Magnox has appointed Balfour Beatty to deliver its £34m solid intermediate level waste encapsulation (SILWE) facility at the old Hunterston A power station in North Ayrshire.

Hunterston ILW and SILWE site
Hunterston ILW and SILWE site

The project is the final stage in Magnox’s process of encapsulating and storing intermediate level waste as part of the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant.

Balfour Beatty will be responsible for final design of the encapsulation process and construction of the SILWE plant, including the complex mechanical, electrical control and instrumentation required.

The twin reactor site was Scotland’s first civil nuclear generating station. When it opened in 1964 it was the largest in operation in the world. While the plant was active, and since it ceased operation in 1989, the solid intermediate level waste has been stored in bunkers.

On completion of the SILWE facility, the Solid Active Waste Bunker Retrieval (SAWBR) facility will retrieve waste from the bunkers and place it in stainless steel boxes that will then be taken to the SILWE building for encapsulation, before being transported to the intermediate level waste (ILW) store for storage for potentially the next 100 years.

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Magnox head of commercial delivery Doug Price said: “Magnox is leading the way in UK nuclear decommissioning and is responsible for safely managing 10 nuclear sites across the UK. Magnox manages sites at all phases of their lifecycles and at Hunterston A we are in the care and maintenance preparations phase which focuses on deplanting buildings and retrieving, treating and processing waste. We are pleased to be working with Balfour Beatty on the SILWE project which is a key part of our programme of work.”

Balfour Beatty delivery unit managing director Hector MacAulay said that Balfour Beatty had been involved in many projects at Hunterston A over the years, including the ILW.

The works will be carried out under the existing infrastructure, construction and enablers (ICE) framework projects across all 10 sites operated by Magnox on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Balfour Beatty was appointed to ICE in September 2012. This is the fourth package order issued to the company under the framework.

Work is expected to start on site this month and to be completed by the first quarter of 2017.

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