Magnox, the company responsible for the decontamination of the Bradwell A nuclear plant, has completed the clean-up of the ponds complex at the site in Essex.
The ponds were formerly used to temporarily store and cool spent nuclear fuel before it was sent to Sellafield for reprocessing.
Workers have spent the last four years decontaminating more than 10,000 square metres of walls, floors and ceilings – an area equal to a rugby union pitch – after the ponds were drained and “stabilised” in 2012. More than two and half kilometres of piping and 120 tonnes of metal waste have also been removed and disposed over the course of project.
Other recent milestones in the clean-up operation include the decontamination of underground waste vaults and the weatherproof cladding of the reactor buildings. Magnox is still working to remove unused equipment and decontaminate other buildings and infrastructure at the site.
Ponds project manager for Magnox Trevor Frost said: “I am extremely proud of the team which has safely delivered this project to time and budget.
“One of the next phases of work will be to demolish the redundant ponds building and remaining ancillary buildings, followed by installation of weatherproof cladding over the remaining buildings.”
“We will be working with the team to ensure that the lessons learned from tackling this challenge are shared across our wider estate,” said chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Pete Lutwyche.
Bradwell nuclear plant was closed down in 2002 after 40 years in service. China General Nuclear (CGN) Power Corporation is planning to build a new nuclear plant at the adjacent Bradwell B site with the help of EDF. CGN has a 33.5 per cent stake in Hinkley Point C and is also expected to take a large stake in the plant EDF is planning to build at Sizewell C.
If it goes ahead, the new power station at Bradwell will use the Hualong One reactor which CGN has jointly designed with China National Nuclear Corporation. The company’s ultimate aim is to get the seal of approval from the UK government in order to help it export its reactors around the world.