Collaboration Success for NSG-Cavendish-Sellafield R&D Project

The project team during trials at NSG’s facility (from left to right): Chris Mould (Sellafield), Karen Allen (Cavendish Nuclear), Stephen Lloyd (Sellafield), Rob Hughes (NSG), Rachael Wills (Sellafield) and Dave Blackburn (NSG)

NSG Environmental Ltd is currently working with Sellafield and Cavendish Nuclear via the Design Services Alliance (DSA) framework to evaluate a technology for Magnox sludge resuspension. The project is part of a programme of work currently being undertaken by Sellafield to retrieve and process sludge stored in the FGMSP SPP1 Bulk Storage Vessels. The primary aim of the project is to test the effectiveness of the Pulsair Tote Stick to resuspend Magnox sludge prior to pumping and subsequent waste processing.

Sellafield recently placed the contract with Progressive through the DSA, which was flowed down to NSG because of their experience, facilities and collaborative approach. The team has mobilised quickly and the early trials are now being carried out at NSG’s R&D facilities in Chorley, Lancashire.

As part of the work, NSG is manufacturing a series of sludges with different formulations and properties to replicate a range of challenging environments that potentially may be faced on Sellafield site. Magnesium hydroxide powders are used to simulate the physical properties of the corroded Magnox sludge, while tungsten powder and tungsten pieces are used to represent the potential for dense metallic debris that may occur within the pond waste stream.

NSG is adding value to the trials through their ability to repeatedly manufacture the range of sludges to a consistent specification. In support of this, they also have equipment to test, sample and analyse sludge samples within their laboratory for rheology and particle size measurement. Cavendish is adding value to the team through their programme management and design input.

Early results are showing promise and, if successful, there is a plan to develop the work further through full-scale testing and potential future inclusion within a larger system on site.

Stephen Lloyd, Process Engineer and Technical Lead for Sellafield, commented:

It is great to see Sellafield, Cavendish and NSG collaborating to quickly evaluate technologies which can potentially add real value to the Legacy Ponds work programme.