Magnox and NSG Successfully Retrieve Sludge at Berkeley

NSG were contracted by Magnox on the ILW Framework to design, install and commission a vacuum retrieval system for the ILW sludge and ion exchange resins stored within the tanks at the Caesium Removal Plant (CRP) at Berkeley Power Station.

In 2012, the Magnox and NSG team retrieved a limited amount of sludge from the Sand and Sludge Settling Tank before commencing bulk retrievals. This proved a success and over 11m³ of standing water was recovered from the tank before the team recovered 1m³ of sludge to 200 litre shielded drums.

After a period of time, the team returned to site to install the enhanced system. The Magnox and NSG team retrieved the remaining bulk of the sludge into six Ductile Cast Iron Containers (DCICs). The bulk retrieval was completed weeks ahead of schedule, proving both time and cost efficient. The team are currently in the process of retrieving a similar volume of resin to DCICs from the adjacent Spent Resin Settling Tank, which is expected to be finished as early as March 2014.

Phil Sprague, Magnox ILW Programme Director, said

Magnox has worked with NSG to develop this innovative retrieval solution, and now that we have successfully completed bulk sludge retrievals, we can move onto the retrieval of resins from the other settling tank. This vacuum system is another important tool in the ILW programme toolbox and we are actively looking to share our learning and the kit with other Magnox sites.

As part of Magnox’s ‘lead and learn’ strategy, NSG have been contacted by Chapelcross Power Station about the prospect of using a similar principle for a different project. Additionally, Bradwell Power Station is using the same solution to remove the remaining heel sludge from their storage tank. This demonstrates the value and importance of shared learning for the benefit of the ILW Framework, whilst also reducing cost by implementing knowledge and expertise already gained on previous collaborations.