Specialist manufacturer goes nuclear

Contract manufacturer and packer, Grotech Production, is forging new markets with its first ever order for the nuclear industry.

The Goole-based company which specialises in blending powders and liquids for the agrochemical and general chemical sectors, was approached online by Aquila Nuclear Engineering to quote for dry mixing and batching materials for testing.

Aquila required a variety of different blends of a long list of specific dry materials to commission and Factory Acceptance Test a piece of equipment it had built for Magnox Ltd, a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The equipment will be used to convert low grade nuclear waste into a more manageable form for long-term storage.

Lawrence Underwood, senior project engineer for Aquila, said: “As an experienced supplier to the nuclear industry Aquila undertakes a variety of projects, however this is the first project of this kind involving testing of such magnitude.

“We required simulant reflective of onsite waste with the same consistency and viscosity. We don’t have the facilities ourselves for acquiring, blending, packing and storing such substances so armed with a recipe we took to the internet and found Grotech.”

Some of the materials required Grotech had worked with before, but procuring others involved sourcing new suppliers with all the associated quality and suitability checks often involving lengthy lead times.

In total, some six tonnes of product were produced by the business and supplied to Aquila.

Grotech MD, Martin Usher, said: “This was our first experience of supplying to the nuclear industry but the contract called for accurate blending of particular substances which were then batched and labelled clearly and that is bread and butter to us.”