Nuclear Technology / Volume 150 / Number 1 / April 2005 / Pages 44-55
Technical Paper / Sodium Technology
The UKAEA Prototype Fast Reactor at Dounreay had a liquid sodium-cooled core. Following its shutdown in 1994, the liquid metal is being removed from the reactor and other vessels by means of specialized equipment and reacted with an aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide in a special vessel. The reaction products are neutralized with hydrochloric acid to produce a saline solution.
The reactor sodium delivery and processing equipment is all of novel design. As sodium has been withdrawn from the vessel, it has been necessary to switch off the primary sodium pumps (used to heat the sodium), and the reactor is now kept at temperature by a purpose-designed electric heater and a NaK loop heater.
A primary sodium extract pump has currently removed [approximately]450 tonnes of primary sodium from the reactor. As the level falls special equipment will be used to punch a hole in the primary circuit pipe work and to drill the strongback to allow trapped sodium to drain for extraction.