It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Previously unseen pictures of two storage ponds containing hundreds of highly radioactive fuel rods at the Sellafield nuclear plant show cracked concrete, seagulls bathing in the water and weeds growing around derelict machinery. But a spokesman for owners Sellafield Ltd said the 60-year-old ponds will not be cleaned up for decades, despite concern that they are in a dangerous state and could cause a large release of radioactive material if they are allowed to deteriorate further.
“The concrete is in dreadful condition, degraded and fractured, and if the ponds drain, the Magnox fuel will ignite and that would lead to a massive release of radioactive material,” nuclear safety expert John Large told the Ecologist magazine. “I am very disturbed at the run-down condition of the structures and support services. In my opinion there is a significant risk that the system could fail.
Sellafield Ltd is putting in place a new kind of long-term commercial mechanism to secure specialist decommissioning services over a ten-year period. The work could be worth up to £1.5 billion ($2.6 billion).
The work to be covered by the DDP has been split into three lots centred on Sellafield's four legacy pond and silo facilities. The first portion covers the Pile Fuel Storage Pond and the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo, as well as site remediation and decommissioning projects and other areas including waste and effluent disposition. The second lot covers the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond, while the third encompasses the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo. Lot 1 will see multiple contracts awarded while the remaining lots will comprise single partnering organisations with a lead partner.
Sellafield's legacy ponds and silos were built to prepare fuel for reprocessing or storage and date back to the earliest days of the UK's nuclear program: the Pile Fuel Cladding Silo, commissioned in 1952, was the first intermediate level waste storage facility commissioned at the site. Radioactive materials including sludges have accumulated in the facilities since operations ended, and the facilities themselves - now over 50 years old - were not designed with decommissioning in mind and so present many challenges.
In late June, a joint venture of Balfour Beatty and Cavendish Nuclear were awarded a £160 million ($272 million) third-phase contract to construct a new mechanical handling plant, the Silo Maintenance Facility at Sellafield, to support the Magnox Swarf Storage Silos and Pile Fuel Cladding Silo. Earlier this year a joint venture of Areva, Atkins and Mace was selected to supply a facility to encapsulate wastes recovered from the Magnox Swarf Storage Silo in a contract worth up to £1.2 billion ($2.0 billion), while a £240 million ($402 million) facility to handle radioactive sludge from the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond is in the final stages of commissioning.
Sellafield Ltd has formally launched the acquisition process for the DDP and begun pre-qualifying for interested contractors, with a view to a tendering process at the end of 2014 and the announcement of the preferred suppliers in mid-2015. The current four-year decommissioning framework agreement was awarded in 2011 to four partners drawn from nuclear and other specialist engineering and service companies will be due to expire in 2015.
The Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the statutory nuclear safety regulator, said: “The legacy ponds at Sellafield are old and as a result, do not meet the high engineering standards that would be required for modern nuclear facilities.
originally posted by: Yeahkeepwatchingme
a reply to: woogleuk
Why don't they launch it into the sun like Superman did?
I know it sounds stupid but wouldn't the sun essentially burn it all away?