The Plutonium Purification Plant was built in the early 1950s and commenced operations in 1954. In 1963 the facility was modified to enable recovery of plutonium residues from early process operations.
In order to undertake the work in a safe and contained environment, the bends within the ducting were safely removed using a purpose built bespoke facility. On completion of the removal of the bends, the cutting facility has now been reconfigured to enable it to become ‘mobile’ and to be used in other areas.
This ‘mobile’ facility will now be utilised to enable the straight sections of redundant ventilation ducting to be removed. It has also enabled the collection of more detailed radiological data on the remaining ducting which has helped underpin a potential efficiency opportunity going forward with the project scope.
Mark Pennington, Decommissioning project manager, Sellafield Ltd said: “The mobile facility is currently undergoing inactive commissioning prior to a readiness review and active commissioning in March 2013. The team is performing exceptionally well and we are looking to further accelerate the project to remove the risk and hazard associated with this redundant ducting as soon as possible.”
Under the next phase of work, the objective is to remove approximately 45 metres of ductwork, and then build and commission a conditioning facility to size reduce the cut sections.
Jeremy Hunt, head of projects, SR&DP, Sellafield Ltd said: “The work was delivered to budget and overall the project is six months ahead of schedule in comparison to the Performance Plan 2011 and has saved over £1.5M through improved ways of working.”