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NDA Annual Report and Accounts 2021-2022 | case studies

Dounreay decommissioning success

James Robertson, Project Manager at Dounreay

James Robertson, Project Manager at Dounreay in the North Highlands of Scotland, explains how world-first innovation helped solve a significant decommissioning challenge to remove radioactive sodium from the base of a reactor vessel.


What is the project?

Around 1,810 litres of radioactive sodium coolant (approximately 1.7 tonnes) remaining in a ‘heel’ pool at the base of the reactor vessel in Dounreay’s Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) has been pumped out using specially designed equipment.

Removing the heel pool was a major hurdle in the programme that has now been overcome, as the amount of liquid metal had to be reduced before the interior of the reactor vessel could be treated. It paves the way for the next step in the decommissioning of PFR to take place.

Watch James explain more about the project:

Find out more about the project:

World first process achieves significant hazard reduction at Dounreay.