Protecting sources at Hinkley C

James Fisher Nuclear (JFN) in cooperation with High Technology Sources Limited has designed and built an on-site radioactive ‘source’ store at Hinkley Point C – the first new nuclear power station to be built in Britain in over 20 years.

The secure storage facility will house a number of specially sealed radioactive ‘sources’. These sit inside shielded containers and produce the x-rays used to test the integrity of metal work and welding on site. Their safe use forms a vitally important part of the next construction phase at Hinkley Point where numerous elements are required to undergo non-destructive testing (ie x-ray assessment) as the site is built.

This is the first time so many radioactive sources have been housed on a UK construction site at the same time, but storing them in this way reduces the costly administration and logistical arrangements associated with bringing sources on and off site when required.

Working in partnership

The idea for on-site storage arose during discussions between the supplier of the source material and JFN sister company, High Technology Sources Limited. The project was subsequently delivered with support from Aurora Health Physics Services and Nuclear Shields.

Working in conjunction with these partner companies, the JFN team managed and co-ordinated the design, procurement and construction of the facility for energy firm, EDF, which was completed in August 2019.

Two separate storage areas provide secure, shielded storage for up to 64 radioactive sources in lockable cubicles sitting on a reinforced floor. A lead-shielded steel partition wall separates the storage areas from an administration space.

Neil Tyldesley, technical lead for the project, says:

‘We have built a strong team to create a cost-effective integrated engineering solution for EDF. Working closely with strategic partners has enabled us to deliver a full-solution so we can offer EDF increased flexibility and lower execution risk, thereby reducing costs and maximising value for money.’

The store uses secure RFID tags (which incorporate bar-coded tracking systems) to control access. This ensures full traceability of the sources and their containers at all times.