Safety should always be a priority, and it definitely is at Berkeley Nuclear power station. The Magnox reactor buildings at the world’s first commercial nuclear power station at Berkeley, Gloucestershire stand square and defiant against the breeze from the River Severn. Built in the late 1950s, the power station produced enough electricity during its heyday to supply a city the size of Bristol. These days, devoid of life and stripped of its external pipework, the seven-storey buildings are little more than hollow shells.
Berkeley has been left with about 1,000 tonnes of intermediate-level radioactive waste from its research laboratories, and also in the form of sludge from the treatment of the cooling water. This waste is currently stored below ground in eight-metre deep vaults, each of them six metres wide and 14 metres long.
The new Vault Retrieval System is set to manage intermediate level waste retrieval at the disused Magnox reactor site in Gloucestershire. The winches provide part of the infrastructure to process this waste by retrieving waste from within the underground vaults using hydraulically operated grabs and depositing it onto a ground level conveyor system for transfer to the following processing stages.
Drives and Automation provided the drive hardware and bespoke drive and safety software along with the operator HMI programming.