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Fri September 17 2021

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Contract awarded for demolition of Scotland’s oldest nuclear reactor

17 Dec 18 A multi-million-pound demolition contract has been awarded for the Dounreay Materials Test Reactor (DMTR).

The DMTR was the first operational nuclear reactor in Scotland and came into service in 1958. It was built to test the effects of radiation on different materials and operated for 11 years.

The three-year contract has now been awarded to Cavendish Nuclear, which has appointed JGC Engineering &  Technical Services, Veolia (through its subsidiary KDC) and Frazer-Nash Consultancy (a subsidiary of Babcock International Group) as its key supply chain partners.

The work involves the dismantling of the reactor block and demolition of the structure. It is the culmination of a decade-long project to remove the internal structures from the reactor and its support buildings including a fuel storage pond, waste drum store and post-irradiation examination cells.

Caithness-based JGC will carry out the removal of equipment and decommissioning of the reactor block. The company has recently completed the removal of the adjoining D1251 ancillary building as well as numerous other decommissioning projects over many years across the Dounreay site.

JGC will be supported by local subcontractors Gunn’s of Lybster, Caithness Scaffolding and Hugh Simpson during the works phase.

Veolia/KDC is currently decommissioning a similar research reactor in the UK – the Consort facility at Imperial College in Ascot, using the same techniques that will be deployed for this project.

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Frazer-Nash will augment Cavendish Nuclear’s safety case and engineering capabilities.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) director of nuclear operations Alan Cumming said: “The start of the work to demolish Dounreay Materials Test Reactor represents a significant step in our mission to decommission and clean-up the legacy from the very earliest days of the UK’s nuclear industry.”

Dounreay project manager, Bill Lambie, said: “When DMTR was constructed in the late 1950s, it was technologically advanced and innovative. Sixty years on, its demolition will be an important demonstration of the decommissioning progress being made at Dounreay. We were very encouraged by the response from the supply chain and our team has worked hard to undertake a robust assessment of each of the competing bids before awarding the contract.”

It is the latest in a number of major contracts to be awarded in the last year as the site’s closure programme progresses. Graham Construction was awarded a three-year contract in October and will soon begin to build an intermediate level waste storage facility on the site.

Nuvia has recently won a multi-million-pound contract to remove residual liquid metal coolant from Dounreay Fast Reactor.

Dounreay, which was once the UK’s centre for fast reactor research, is now Scotland’s largest decommissioning project. The work is being delivered by Dounreay Site Restoration Limited on behalf of the NDA.

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