Evaporator D project

Reducing the volume of legacy waste

The largest nuclear decommissioning project in the UK, Evaporator D will allow continued reduction in the volume of highly active legacy waste.

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Advisory and Concept Development
Specialist Design
Complex Project Delivery

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Sellafield Ltd

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Modular design consisting of 11 in-cell modules
396 major plant items
65 Nuclear Class vessels
Over 21 kilometres of pipework

Key Benefits

7

Consecutive RoSPA Gold Awards for Occupational Health and Safety

Modular Design

Reduced schedule risk and construction works on restricted site

Pre-Construction Safety Case developed and accepted in less than 100 days

90%

of onsite project team recruited in West Cumbria

33%

of project spend with local SMEs

Additional waste processing capacity

As part of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s strategy, Evaporator D will expand Sellafield’s ability to process nuclear waste material and ultimately reduce inventories at the site.

We have worked with Sellafield Ltd to design and construct the new evaporator which is required to evaporate highly active raffinate produced during reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel rods. Once concentrated through evaporation, the highly active liquor produced is subsequently vitrified – immobilizing the waste in a stable glass form for long term storage and eventual disposal.  

After an extensive build period, this project has now entered the commissioning phase.

Key Challenges

  • Processing of highly radioactive and very corrosive fluids
  • Strictly regulated site
  • Remote site access
  • Located at the heart of an operating nuclear facility
  • Congested site - complex design on a restricted footprint

Innovative Construction Methods

In order to address the challenges outlined above, our experienced team of engineers drew on expertise from within the Oil & Gas industry to propose a modular design pre-fabricated and tested off-site, a nuclear first at this scale. 

The project construction comprises 11 in-cell modules

The benefits of this modular approach include:

  • Reduced schedule risk
  • Minimised works adjacent to highly active facilities 
  • Opportunities for early operator training
  • Reduced fault observations at site 
  • Process plant and equipment proven prior to installation

The modules, the largest of which is 27m in height, were delivered by sea, the first time in the history of the Sellafield site that this method has been used. Major temporary works were undertaken to construct a beach landing area, a bridge across the River Ehen and to widen the railway crossing to provide a delivery route onto the Sellafield site.

Collaborative Working

This extent of modularisation was novel for the client and the nuclear regulatory authorities; it was vital to work collaboratively to make this concept work effectively. The solution was to form an alliance partnership between Costain, Sellafield and other major strategic supply chain partners. One of the many success examples of this integrated team approach is the submission and approval of the Pre-Construction Safety Case in just 99 days.

This first ever delivery of a major component to the beach is the culmination of lots of hard work by a great team of people. We are all very proud of our accomplishment.

Tom McClain, Sellafield Ltd Project Manager, speaking following the delivery of the first module.

Contact and social

Nuclear

Rob Phillips, Sector director
0161 910 3444
rob.phillips@costain.com