Specialist nuclear divers are being used for the first time at Sizewell A to help decommission the nuclear power station. The American team are helping to remove radioactive waste from the fuel storage pond.
Working under water helps cut the risk of radiation for the workers. The conventional method uses remotely operated equipment to lift the whole radioactive skips clear of the water, exposing them to the air and therefore creating potential radiation risk to workers.
But by using specialist divers it means the work can be one under water and the skips can be cut safer, access more awkward areas easier and make the whole process safer.
Engineers working to decommission the Sizewell A power station in Suffolk say they have removed 75 percent of the radioactive fuel rods from the plant's two reactors.
The spent elements are being transported to the Sellafield plant in Cumbria for reprocessing.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which is overseeing the work, says once all the fuel has been removed the radiological hazard at Sizewell will have been reduced by more than 99%.
Progress towards decommissioning Sizewell A nuclear power station in Suffolk has passed a major milestone.
More than half of the 52,945 fuel elements have now been removed from Sizewell A’s twin reactors.
Defuelling is due to be completed in September 2014.
Site Director Tim Watkins “This is a significant milestone in Sizewell A’s lifecycle.Removing spent fuel from reactors and transporting it to Sellafield for reprocessing is a complex process.. Once all fuel has been dispatched, we will have reduced the radiological hazard on site by more than 99%.”