Sheffield engineering firm plays key role in nuclear plant decommissioning

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A crane designed and manufactured by Sheffield engineering specialists SCX Special Projects is to play a key role in the decommissioning of the former Dounreay nuclear plant in northern Scotland.

The company has been awarded a contract to help ensure the safe handling of radioactive waste as part of one of the largest and most difficult nuclear commissioning challenges in Europe.

The semi-automated overhead drum crane will be used to lift 500-litre stainless steel drums into a new £22m unit at Dounreay. The drums will be encased in cement, put into long-term storage and monitored remotely over time.

SCX Special Projects – part of the SCX Group – is working with Dounreay Site Restoration (DSRL), which is managing the decommissioning on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Andy Whitworth, director of SCX Special Projects, said: “In such a safety-critical industry you need to ensure that the equipment is reliable and safe far beyond all limits of its operation.

“High-level waste demands extreme caution, requiring engineering solutions that exhibit strength, durability, safety and quality.

“At the top of our list of priorities is that people are protected and can work with confidence in the surrounding environment.”

The contract is another significant boost for SCX in the nuclear industry, adding to its reputation in other fields, notably its design, manufacture and installation of retractable roofs at Wimbledon Centre and No.1 Courts for the All England Lawn Tennis Club.