Cheshire team involved in N-plant decommissioning research

Graphics blocks in a gas-cooled reactor. Courtesy of EDF

Jacobs has been selected by Radioactive Waste Management Ltd (RWM), a subsidiary of the Government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, to work on a project linked to the decommissioning of UK nuclear power stations.

The group, which has operations in Cheshire and Manchester, will study the release of radioactivity from irradiated graphite sampled from reactor cores at the UK’s nuclear power stations.

This research will support RWM in its analysis of graphite behaviour and the options for graphite waste management in the future.

Clive White, Jacobs’ critical mission solutions senior vice president, said: “We’re combining our leading graphite knowledge from our integrated waste management team at Harwell, our role as designer and architect engineer of the Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR), and Magnox reactors, and our work on operational support and life extension.

“Our technology and innovation centre at Birchwood Park, Warrington, is applying this graphite knowledge to work through options for safe and timely characterisation, retrieval, treatment and storage solutions to meet the growing global decommissioning market.”

The research will have a significant bearing on the safe management and disposal of graphite wastes arising from the decommissioning of 14 advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGR), which generate nearly 20% of the country’s electricity, but are due to be phased out over the next 10 years.

The contract has an initial duration of two years but, subject to experimental programme results, it may be extended by an additional two years.

Jacobs says it is challenging today to reinvent tomorrow by solving the world’s most critical problems for thriving cities, resilient environments, mission-critical outcomes, operational advancement, scientific discovery and cutting-edge manufacturing, turning abstract ideas into realities that transform the world for good.

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