Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Control is the watchword when dismantling nuclear power installations

DECOMMISSIONING nuclear power stations is proving a useful source of work for Controlled Demolition.

The company has demolished reactor buildings at Berkeley, Aldermaston and Dounreay and is currently working on a contract at Hunterston.

Further contracts are anticipated as the nuclear industry pushes ahead with its Safe Store project. This involves reducing the height of decommissioned nuclear reactor buildings, enclosing them in cladding and leaving them for 130 years while radioactivity levels subside.

Controlled Demolition is one of the few contractors authorised to carry out this work, which Charles Moran puts down to his company's experience of explosives.

For obvious reasons, these are not used in dismantling nuclear reactors but Mr Moran says: 'Nuclear work is all about procedures, paperwork and quality controls - all the things that the demolition industry is notorious for not having.

'But we have been using paperwork, calculations and forecasts to try to convince other people to use explosives and that discipline has helped us in the nuclear industy.'

For nuclear work, Controlled Demolition, which has ISO9002 accreditation, prepares detailed method statements which are then checked by independent assessors from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate.

The reactor buildings are typically reduced in height by about 20 m, with operatives working from scaffolding and tower cranes to ensure the reactors themselves are undamaged.

The planning and execution of this type of work has more in common with construction than demolition and is a far cry from the world of wrecking balls and bulldozers.