‘Blower houses’ circulated gas through reactors
A major decommissioning project is to begin five decades ahead of schedule to clean up and demolish four “blower house” superstructures at the Berkeley nuclear power station in Gloucestershire, southwest England.
The blower houses circulated gas through the reactors to transfer heat into 310-tonne boilers to create steam to turn the turbines and generate electricity.
The last of the 15 gigantic metal boilers was transported to Sweden for cleaning, smelting and recycling in 2013.
The buildings will be emptied of the residual metallic low-level waste and undergo a full asbestos clean before being demolished. The work is expected to take eight years to complete and will be another major step forwards in decommissioning the Berkeley site.
Ross McAllister, programme delivery director at Magnox, the government body responsible for the cleanup of 12 nuclear sites in the UK, said: “This is one of the largest decommissioning projects that Berkeley site has seen for several years. It was originally planned for the 2070s so it is fantastic to bring that forward by five decades.”
Multinational construction group Altrad has been awarded a £30.8m (€35m) contract for the design, asbestos removal, deplant, demolition and construction works in and around the blower houses.
Nuclear Waste Services was awarded a £13.7m contract to manage 2,400 tonnes of metallic waste.
Berkeley had two gas-cooled reactor units that were permanently shut down in 1988 and 1989. They both began commercial operation in 1962.