James Fisher Nuclear awarded Winfrith core decommissioning contract

James Fisher Nuclear (JFN) is celebrating a major success following the award of a 4 year contract by Magnox (Winfrith) to deliver a facility for the remote segmentation and packaging of the reactor core of the redundant Steam Generating Heavy Water Reactor (SGHWR) located at Winfrith in Dorset. This will be one of the largest value turnkey decommissioning projects to have been awarded in the UK in recent years.

The SGHWR reactor will be only the second reactor core within the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) estate to be subject to decommissioning and will be the first of the ‘power’ reactors. The first was Windscale Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor (WAGR), undertaken by BNFL Project Services in partnership with JFN.

SGHWR was the largest of the nine experimental reactors commissioned on the Winfrith site, constructed between 1963 and 1967 and generating up to 100MW, sufficient electricity to power the needs of a small town. The reactor was finally shut down in 1990 and has subsequently been subject to de-fuelling and decommissioning operations. Cutting up and packaging the reactor core for disposal is a major task in the process of returning the site to publically accessible heathland and presents a significant technical challenge in terms of remote size reduction and handling operations.

JFN together with their specialist sub-contractors were awarded this contract though a competitive tender and are clearly delighted to have won. JFN’s Managing Director Paul Read said: “This success is fantastic news. It represents a further major milestone in JFN’s expansion plans; our heightened profile within the market reflects the team’s hard work to become a market leader and supplier of choice. JFN’s application of the ‘Decommissioning Mind-Set’ to this technically challenging project has underpinned the credibility of the offer to Magnox, in terms of price, quality and schedule.”

The company is looking to cement its position as an established Tier 2 Nuclear industry contractor and will be actively looking to support the NDA on a portfolio of further decommissioning contracts due for competition over the forthcoming years.