Hunterston A

Construction of this 360 MW two-reactor Magnox station started in 1957 and it was commissioned in 1964. It is situated near West Kilbride in Ayr­shire on an adjoining site with Hunterston B nuclear power station. From construction, through its operating period until it was shut down in 1990, it was operated by the Southern Scotland Electricity Board (SSEB). From shut down it was managed by Scottish Nuclear and then Magnox — Electric until it was taken into the ownership of the NDA in 2005. It is currently undergoing decommissioning on contract by Magnox. At the time of opening it was Scotland’s first civil nuclear generating station and the largest in operation anywhere in the world (Magnox, 2012b).

Defuelling started in August 1990 and was completed in January 1995. Currently, activities are being carried out to prepare the site for entry into the long-term secure care and maintenance period that is scheduled to start in 2022. This care and maintenance period is planned to continue to around 2080 after which the final decommissioning and demolition will take place up to around 2090.

The decommissioning strategy is the same as for Chapelcross, and all Magnox stations, but the key difference is that a shielded ILW store has been constructed on-site to store the conditioned operational and decom­missioning waste in unshielded containers. These containers will be the industry standard 3 m3 boxes and the store was designed to accommodate 1,600 containers. Further work has been undertaken on crane guidance systems and container stacking and spacing to allow the number of contain­ers able to be stored to increase to around 2,500.

There are five vaults containing solid ILW from previous operations which were not designed or constructed for ease of eventual waste retrieval or decommissioning. A project, the solid active waste building retrieval (SAWBR) facility, was completed in 2011 to provide the means to allow entry into these vaults using remote operated machinery. The ILW will then be retrieved using remote controlled robots. The SAWBR facility includes equipment for packaging the retrieved waste into 3 m3 boxes so that it can be transported across site to an encapsulation plant.

A retrieval and packaging plant for the wet ILW is under construction above the wet ILW storage vault. This facility is of the ‘canyon’ design which, though it is a shielded facility, it nevertheless has an open top to allow different equipment to be installed or removed depending on the processing required (CoRWM, 2010). The transport system and encapsula­tion plant for both solid and wet ILW are in the construction stage and are planned to be commissioned in 2013.

The final packaged volume of HAW is estimated to be around 8,400m3 and will be stored until a final end-point is identified. Around 51% of this HAW will be ILW graphite and 32% fuel element debris (NDA, 2012). Around 58,000 m3 of packaged LLW will require disposal.

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