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The dangerous job of specialist scuba divers hauling radioactive trash out of Sizewell nuclear fuel storage pond

NDA 1st Feb 2018, Specialist scuba divers are plumbing new depths to haul radioactive waste
out of the nuclear fuel storage pond at Sizewell A. The team of American
underwater experts tackled their first UK ‘nuclear dive’ at Dungeness A
in 2016 where, wearing full protective suits and shielded from radiation by
the water, they were able to cut up empty fuel storage skips and retrieve
other pieces of submerged equipment.

The ponds were used to store thousands
of used nuclear fuel rods, held in metal skips, after they were discharged
from the reactors. After the last of the fuel was transported to Sellafield
for reprocessing, the skips and a range of redundant items, including
sludge, were left behind in the water.

Pond clean-out conventionally takes
place using remotely operated equipment to lift the whole radioactive skips
clear of the water, exposing them to the air, where they are carefully cut
up before decontamination, storage and eventual disposal. This process is
slow with potential radiation dose risks for workers. By doing the work
under water, the divers can cut up the skips more safely, access awkward
areas more easily, making the whole process safer, faster and more


February 3, 2018 - Posted by | employment, UK, wastes

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