UK reactor desk to get a second act in the film industry

September 14, 2020, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

The inspection desk in use at Sizewell A.

A piece of British nuclear history may be coming to a movie theatre (or streaming service) near you. The United Kingdom’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) sold, at auction, a reactor in-core inspection desk to an Oxford-based film studio known to have been involved with productions such as World War Z, Iron Man 2, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

The inspection desk, which was used to remotely check conditions deep inside the gas-cooled reactors at Sizewell A nuclear power plant in Suffolk, England, received a high bid of £10,200 (about $13,000), according to a September 7 press notice from Magnox Ltd., the NDA company responsible for the cleanup of the U.K.’s former Magnox reactors. The desk was last used in 2005, just before the site stopped generating electricity.

A historic performance: Used to help the site safely generate low-carbon electricity for 40 years, the inspection desk was considered cutting edge technology at the time, and allowed site operators to identify any maintenance or repairs needed inside the reactor core. As work to decommission and clean up Sizewell A progressed, the desk became redundant and needed to be disposed of. Once it was carefully inspected and certified as free from contamination, Magnox’s disposals contract partner, Ramco, took on the job of finding it a new home.

Disposing of the desk in this way has recycled equipment that would have otherwise required months of work to dismantle for scrap, the NDA said.

Quotes: Caron Weaver, Magnox engineering and asset management director, said, “This sale proves that there is still value in Magnox assets if we are willing to look at what we have and find out if there is a market for them. Our mindset is changing to ensure we exploit our assets and not follow the norm and throw them away as waste.”

Sizewell A’s Disposal Manager, Mark Thurston, added, “Each section would have taken two people at least one week to dismantle for scrap, so this has saved valuable time and brought a small profit. I look forward to spotting it in a film at some point in the future.”


Related Articles

What about the waste?

December 5, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News

It’s always the first question asked. So, what is your approach? You have options.You could go the “Yucca Mountain is the law of the land” route. But you’ll soon run into an immutable...

The Decommissioning of Portsmouth’s X-326

Demolition and disposal shifted into high gear this spring at the DOE’s former uranium enrichment plant in Ohio.

November 14, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

In the 1950s, the U.S. Department of Energy constructed the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in rural southern Ohio to enrich uranium, alongside two other federally owned and managed...

The trouble with tritium

October 31, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear NewsJames Conca

The trouble with tritium is there is no trouble with tritium.At any level outside the laboratory, either experimental or manufacturing, tritium is harmless. Every year, we routinely release...