Breeder Reactors

Home>Topics>Breeder Reactors
Refine Results
  1. All
  2. Online Articles
  3. Magazine Articles
  1. Decommissioning Dounreay

    By Nancy Spring, Editor Dounreay from the air, July 2006. All photos, courtesy Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd. Located on the north coast of Scotland, Dounreay was the center of the U.K.’s fast breeder reactor research program from 1954 until 1994. Three reactors—two fast breeder reactors and one research reactor—a chemical reprocessing plant and various waste facilities were built there. But the fast reactor proved to be more expensive than thought and in 1988 Britain cancelled the program. All research and development there has now ceased and each facility has to be cleaned out, the waste managed safely and the structures dismantled. With a finish date of 2025, Dounreay is one of the most complex decommissioning projects in the world. Manufacturing fuel elements in the D1202 fuel fabrication plant prior to its closure in 2004 and subsequent decommissioning and demolition. Dounreay’s purpose was to research and develop more efficient ways to generate electricity from uranium and plutonium. The knowledge gained from this work made Dounreay a world leader in the development of nuclear energy for electricity production. Various fuel types were tested in the reactors. The used fuel was recycled in chemical plants and the recovered uranium and plutonium turned into new fuel elements. By 1994, the site had built up a stock of more than 100 tons of uranium and plutonium, much of it in a variety of specialist forms. Decommissioning the D1204 materials test reactor fuel reprocessing plant. The experimental fast breeder reactor at Dounreay—the DFR—led British research and development of nuclear energy during the 1950s and 1960s. Housed inside a steel sphere, it was built between 1955 and 1958 and became the first fast reactor in the world to provide electricity to a national grid in 1961. The 14 MW DFR was closed down in 1977. Dounreay’s prototype fast reactor (PFR) was the second and last fast reactor to be built in the U.K. Construction commenced in 1968 and the PFR went critical in 1974. Workers used a Brokk remotely-operated machine to break up reinforced concrete plinths that had provided shielding for the active liquor slab tanks. The PFR had the dual role of providing power to the national grid and offering unique research and development facilities. The reactor was 250 MWe—660 MW thermal output, although the original design intent was 600 MW. The plutonium metal fuel was cooled by sodium liquid metal designed to remove heat from the reactor core. The heat was transferred via the primary and secondary sodium circuits to the steam raising plant that fed a conventional steam turbine. Archive image from 1985 of operations in the laboratory (pulsed column lab). The PFR closed in 1994. It was de-fuelled and the 1,500 tons of bulk sodium that once flowed through the primary and secondary circuits removed. In early 2009, a 7-year project to clean up the dirtiest area of Dounreay’s uranium conversion plant was successfully completed on time. A team of 12 workers managed by Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) carried out the clean-up work in the “amber” area. DRSL, a subsidiary of the Babcock International Group, is the site licence company responsible for the closure program at Dounreay. Dounreay belongs to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, a non-departmental body of the U.K. government. Construction of the plutonium criticality laboratory in the 1950s. When the plant was operating, the amber area housed equipment to dissolve uranium in acid to recover the reusable material and remove the waste products. Industry regulators placed a high priority on the decontamination of the amber area. Before any clean-up work could start, the ventilation system had to be upgraded. Redundant glove boxes and solvent extraction plant were stripped out, cleaned up and size-reduced. Four-inch-thick slab tanks that once held radioactive liquid were removed and the team employed a remotely-operated Brokk to help demolish the 32 reinforced concrete plinths that separated the tanks. Approximately 130 tons of concrete rubble were designated as low level waste. Demolition of the plutonium criticality laboratory, February 2009 Preparations for the removal and clean-out of the third PFR dirty dump tank are underway. The massive cylinder has been isolated and dismantled from its surrounding support structures and is ready to be hoisted out. Once an integral part of the heat transfer system, two of the four metal tanks have already been safely removed from the redundant plant. The solidified sodium resembles pink putty. After it is dug out using high powered chisels, it is ready for size reduction and disposal. Removal of all four tanks is expected to be complete by May 2010. Decommissioning the DFR is one of the most significant challenges. A blanket of uranium and plutonium breeder material is submerged in 57 tons of liquid metal. Both need to be removed to enable the rest of the reactor to be cleaned out and dismantled. Decommissioning is expected to be complete by 2024.   More Nuclear Power International Issue Articles     Nuclear Power International Issue Archives     View Power Generation Articles on PennEnergy.com  

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Mon, 1 Mar 2010

  2. India aims to generate 200 GW from nuclear FBR by 2050

    India will generate 200 GW of nuclear power by the middle of the century using fast breeder reactors but the entry of private players into the field will require the amendment of the Atomic Energy Act, a top official has said.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Fri, 20 Jul 2007

  3. At nuclear plants, China deciding whether to store or process waste

    Nonproliferation advocates warn that recycling waste would generate weapons-usable plutonium    

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 14 Jan 2016

  4. Renewables and nuclear to surge as India set to double capacity

    India’s cumulative installed power generation capacity is predicted to more than double from last year’s 272.8 GW to 609 GW by 2025, according to a new report.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Mon, 19 Oct 2015

  1. World's first conceptual nuclear reactor design of high plutonium breeding by light-water cooling

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 12 Mar 2013

  2. Market Focus: India, Japan and South Korea

    Whether it is new build, research and development, or the exportation of indigenous technology, India, South Korea and Japan are three of the most active countries developing nuclear power generation. International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Yukiya Amano while on a visit to India in ...

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Tue, 1 Mar 2011

  3. Stranded Casks

    In late August, the Kewaunee nuclear power plant began storing spent nuclear fuel in dry casks on its 900-acre site about 35 miles southeast of Green Bay, Wisc.

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Thu, 1 Oct 2009

  4. Rusty Nanoparticles Learn New Trick

    Developed in 2005 for biomedical applications, iron nanoparticles featuring a thin shell of iron-oxide have found a new application in reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Sun, 1 Mar 2009

  5. Schott manufacturing plant receives ASME-NPT certification

    Schott Electronic Packaging said it has received the nuclear ASME-NPT and Material Organization certifications for its plant in Landshut, Germany, producing hermetic glass-to-metal sealed Electrical Penetration Assemblies.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Mon, 16 Apr 2012

  6. Westinghouse to buy nuclear fuel producer for $100mn

    Westinghouse Electric signed a share transfer agreement with Furukawa Electric Co. and Sumitomo Electric Industries, under which Westinghouse Electric UK will acquire a 52 percent stake in Nuclear Fuel Industries for $100 million.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 30 Apr 2009

  7. Japan could restart ‘Dream Nuclear Reactor’

    Japan could restart its “dream nuclear reactor” this year after a raft of safety scares closed the plant for more than 13 years.

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Sun, 1 Mar 2009

  8. Japan's fast-breeder reactor may restart in February 2010

    Japan's experimental fast-breeder nuclear reactor, which has been shut since December 1995, will be restarted as early as February 2010 after repeated delays in final safety checks, according to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA).

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 12 Aug 2009

Get More Results