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Shepley Engineers and Sellafield Ltd Collaboration Shortlisted as IChemE Global Awards Finalist

It has been announced that Shepley Engineers and Sellafield Ltd are joint IChemE Global Awards 2023 Finalists in the Nuclear Engineering category.

IChemE is the Institution of Chemical Engineers, and established in 1994 the IChemE Global Awards are widely recognised as the world’s most prestigious chemical engineering awards. Their Global Awards celebrate chemical engineering excellence and cover the breadth of the chemical and process industries. More than 100 people and projects demonstrating excellence in chemical, biochemical and process engineering are in the final running for the coveted trophies, widely recognised as the world’s most prestigious chemical engineering awards.

Part of our vision is to build a legacy of excellence, and this nomination is testament to our determination to clean up historic nuclear waste. We have a proven track record involving the introduction of new and innovative technologies and techniques. This flexible approach to challenging decommissioning tasks combined with our proven programme management capabilities provide our various clients with effective and reduced risk solutions.

The nomination is for Hydro-Cyclone Unblocking Using High-Pressure Water Jetting, which is currently being utilised on the Sellafield site. A Hydrocyclone separator vessel was deemed unfit for use and a replacement was being sought. The current vessel had become blocked and because of this was unable to function, the replacement was anticipated to cost in the region of £4m.

Following initial consultation between Shepley Engineers and Sellafield Ltd, an alternative proposal was to use High pressure (200 bar) water jetting system, with a micro bore flexible lance deployed via a manually deployed guide system, to fluidise and release the solidified sludge blocking the Hydrocyclone pipework and candles.

In order to achieve this, with the assistance of the Shepley Mechanical teams, access was cut into a secondary containment box followed by several access ports into the active Hydrocyclone vessel itself. This would allow a guide system to be inserted that could deliver the flexible water jetting lance to the location of the blocked pipe work and Hydrocyclone candles.

Working with zero visibility of the affected areas under C3 radioactive conditions the team were able to successfully clear the pipework and Hydrocyclone candles. This was only possible as a result of the intensive development trials and test rig work which had been undertaken to assist the work.

With this successful application methodology now being fully developed and applied, It provides a new viable technique for maintaining and resolving similar issues in radioactive environments and vessels in the future.

The project has been nominated under the Nuclear Engineering award category against four other projects including: Michigan State University, USA – Hydrogen Recombiner Implementation at FRIB and Rolls Royce SMR, UK – New Nuclear, New Ideas – Delivering a Small Modular Reactor Island

The Awards Dinner will take place on Thursday 30th November at the Hilton Metropole in the NEC, Birmingham. A full list of IChemE Global Awards Finalists can be found here.

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