Sellafield preparations begin for Silos Maintenance Facility

Preparations are being made at Sellafield for the new multi million pound Silos Maintenance Facility (SMF).

The removal of up to 27,000 tonnes of rubble from the former site of the South Calder Hall Cooling Towers heralds the first step in the on-site works of the SMF.

Project Manager Kevin Bell said: “This is another significant milestone for the project, which will be built on the site of the Calder Hall south cooling towers that were demolished in 2007.

“Since gaining sanction to start the project, we have accelerated 3 months against the performance plan, have placed the main contract for design and are now making progress on the site.

“During the design process it can be difficult to see real progress however with the start of the site clearance work we have the physical evidence of progress for all to see.”

The work included breaking out the original Calder Hall cooling tower basin walls and floor foundation. All the concrete material was then crushed prior to transporting it to the North end of the Calder Hall site and used as infill on the former location of the two North cooling towers – not only making a start on the SMF project but also completing the land remediation on the site of two of the Calder Hall Cooling Towers by removing the tower basins.

When completed, SMF will support the retrieval of historic waste from the Magnox Swarf Storage Silos (MSSS) and Pile Fuel Cladding Silo (PFCS). In particular, it will help the MSSS Silo Emptying Plant (SEP) retrieval machines by facilitating campaign tool changes, processing failed equipment, loading of new equipment and providing provision for testing of new equipment prior to deployment on the plant.

Anthony Hewetson, Operations Manager for Decommissioning and Demolition Operations, said: “The Magnox Swarf Storage Silos and Pile Fuel Cladding Silo are priority decommissioning projects on the Sellafield site and this project will underpin the retrieval of historic nuclear wastes from these facilities. Sellafield Ltd is looking to accelerate the decommissioning of these plants. The completion of this first stage of the Silo Maintenance Facility project ahead of the schedule bodes well for our continued commitment to reducing high hazards on the Sellafield Site.”