Amec Foster Wheeler has won a contract to design a £22million hazardous nuclear waste store at Dounreay.
Local contractor J Gunn & Sons picked up a site enabling works contract while Derbyshire-based Street Crane will design the drum handling hoist.
The new facility, commissioned by Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL), is an extension on the waste store originally built in the 1980s and expanded further in 2004.
Once finished the storage unit will have capacity for up to 2,800 drums of radioactive waste.
The 500 litre drums contain raffinate – a highly radioactive nuclear byproduct – which is mixed with cement and sealed at the site’s cementing plant.
The decommissioning firm has estimated that 1,200 cubic metres of raffinate were produced at the plant before it stopped reprocessing spent nuclear fuels in 1996, which was stored in 21 underground tanks.
Meanwhile, other historic wastes in the form of radioactive solids, liquids and sludge will also be processed at the cementation plant for storage.
Dounreay predicts that by the time the Caithness site is completely cleared in 2030, the volume of radioactive waste is expected to be in the region of 15,000 cubic metres, about equivalent in volume to about 100 double-decker buses.
Amec FW said it was “well suited” to deliver the 12-month contract for the design, safety case and environmental assessment for the waste store.
Leigh Wakefield, business unit director for Amec Foster Wheeler’s Clean Energy business, said: “The decommissioning of the Dounreay site is an extremely demanding and complex process and one that is well suited to the skills we have in Amec Foster Wheeler.
“The design of this state-of-the-art facility is a key element in the decommissioning strategy of the site and one that we are looking forward to delivering for this important client.”
The Highland Council granted planning permission in March for the extension to the Dounreay Cementation Plant.
DSRL expects construction to be complete by early 2018.