The £9 million facility will play a key role in completing the safe clean-up and demolition of the redundant nuclear site at Dounreay.
Samples of radioactive materials, liquors and gases will be sent to the new laboratory to be analysed, providing project managers with vital information about the hazards their staff may encounter as they take apart the remains of the site.
It will also analyse radioactive particles recovered from the marine environment and nose-blow samples from staff working in high-hazard areas of the site.
The samples will be examined in fume cupboards and glove-boxes in one of six individual laboratories, each connected to a HEPA-filtered ventilation system designed to protect the 45-strong workforce from harm while handling the materials.
DSRL, the site closure contractor for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, awarded the design and construction contract for the 1300 sq m facility to Yorkon.
Its modular approach to construction means the building is being fabricated off-site and will be delivered to Dounreay in 35 modules, beginning in June with installation starting in July.
The building will be assembled on pad foundations and ring-beam base now under construction at the Dounreay site.
Sub-contractors include Studsvik (design of nuclear ventilation systems), JGC Engineering & Technical Services (manufacture and installation of the ventilation system), mechanical and electrical services) and S & B UK (suppliers of the fume cupboards and laboratory equipment).
Construction is due for completion in August 2013 and, subject to regulatory approvals, the active analysis laboratory will receive its first samples for testing in 2014.
How an off-site solution is adding value to the construction of a new nuclear laboratory facility at Dounreay – Yorkon