Completion of Ventilation Stack Allows Demolition of Predecessor at Sellafield

A new chimney has been built at Sellafield – so an old chimney can be knocked down.

Completion of the Separation Area Ventilation (SAV) project has paved the way for the demolition of a stack on top of one of the site’s reprocessing plants.

The new SAV chimney is needed to provide ventilation services to buildings that previously used the chimney earmarked for demolition.

This is the third major project to be completed in the last 18 months by Sellafield Ltd, under the leadership of Nuclear Management Partners (NMP).

This ‘build it up to knock it down’ approach is a vital element of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) 100-year program to clean-up the site.

New buildings often have to be constructed to support the decommissioning and demolition of existing buildings. In turn, these new structures will themselves have to be taken down.

And all of this has to be done on a tightly packed site where space is at a premium and planners and engineers have to navigate a 70-year-old tangle of buildings, storage ponds, pipework, utilities and equipment.

The completion of the SAV project was marked by a special event attended by guests from the NDA and Doosan Babcock.

Work can now begin in earnest on the demolition of the 61-meter-tall chimney stack on top of Sellafield’s First Generation Reprocessing Plant.

A self-climbing platform will be used, similar to the one used to decommission the chimneys at London’s Battersea Power Station.

Paul Foster, managing director of Sellafield Ltd, said: “If there was ever a project that demonstrates the complexity of the Sellafield decommissioning program it is SAV.

“The seemingly straightforward task of knocking down an old chimney becomes a major project to construct and commission a new facility, all delivered in the most demanding environment imaginable.

“The safe and successful completion of yet another major project at Sellafield is a great achievement in itself.

“That this now allows us to get on with the job of reducing the historic hazards on the site is even more pleasing.”

Pete Lutwyche, Sellafield program director for the NDA, said, “This is a significant step forward in the NDA mission to clean up the UK’s nuclear legacy.

“We are seeing a pleasing momentum building in the decommissioning programme at Sellafield and the challenge now for everyone involved in the mission is to build on that progress and keep delivering for our customer, the taxpayers of the UK.”

Andy Lindley, director of ONR’s Sellafield Program, said, “High hazard and risk reduction is central to ONR’s Sellafield regulatory strategy and it is encouraging to see this milestone achieved.

“SAV will provide a modern standards aerial discharge route for existing facilities at Sellafield, and enable the removal of older facilities to be completed that have served the site since first nuclear operations.”