NUVIA Limited delivers European nuclear project from Thurso

NUVIA Limited has been working in Thurso to deliver a remote handling system for the Ignalina power station in Lithuania.

In 2009 the Ignalina nuclear power station ceased operation and Lithuania was no longer a generator of its own nuclear energy. The Ignalina plant, which is now undergoing decommissioning, consisted of two Soviet-designed RBMK 1500 reactors which, in the late 1990s, were subject to stringent safety checks by the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association. According to their findings the two reactors posed a serious risk of accidents due to generic design flaws.

As a result of the political dialogue following testing, Lithuania agreed to the early closure of its RBMK 1500 reactors. To assist with the decommissioning and spent fuel management, the European Community set up the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund (IIDSF) in 2001 at the European Bank for Restoration and Development (EBRD).

As part of the spent fuel management process NUVIA was awarded the sub-contract to supply the remote handling equipment for the spent fuel store and over the past two years this project of European interest has been developed and undergone significant testing and commissioning work at the JGC T3 testing facilities in Thurso.

NUVIA has a long history of working with local supply chain around its operational sites and the T3 facility was chosen as one of the only sites in the UK with the ability to provide testing on the scale required. The service pit at T3 is over 10 metres deep which allowed the mast of the test rig to raise and lower numerous fuel bundles without fear of collision.

John Ball, NUVIA’s Regional Director said: “NUVIA is delighted to have been able to support the Thurso supply chain in demonstrating its ability to deliver significant European projects and to diversify to accommodate a number of challenges. By understanding what makes communities unique and working with those unique talents NUVIA aims to provide the best for employees, communities and clients alike.”

One of the remote handling machines has already been successfully commissioned and shipped from Thurso to Germany, and is now awaiting installation. The second machine is currently under construction at T3.