News story

PFR sticks to simple solutions

The PFR reactor have become fairly well-known for their cost-effective use of general household items to solve decommissioning problems.

Prototype Fast Reactor

The reactor decommissioning team needed to take samples of metal from holes drilled at the base of the PFR reactor.

During the planning phase the in-house design team were tasked with the manufacture of equipment capable of doing this in a radiological and hazardous environment.

Resulting in a substantial saving for the NDA, the team opted for a simple solution rather a new design and build project.

After a bit of lateral thinking they attached some BLU-TACK to the end of a long flexible rod, which meandered nearly ten metres deep into the reactor core and picked up samples of the metal which stuck to the BLU-TACK.

Inspecting the depths of a former nuclear reactor with remotely controlled devices is a challenging process and requires clever thinking and the manufacture of bespoke equipment.

Calder Bain, a member of the PFR design team, said: “We are sixty years on from the decision to build the Prototype Fast Reactor and innovation has been the key to its success.

“There is a continual requirement for inventive methods to dismantle a complex nuclear reactor.

“The nature of the decommissioning work at Dounreay gives both our young and experienced engineers the opportunity to put their innovative skills and knowledge into practice.”

Calder is proud to be sharing his knowledge with a team of DSRL engineers to pass on his years of experience and expertise to a new generation of professionals who will be taking apart the reactor when the time comes.

Published 23 May 2016