Perched atop Sellafield’s 1950’s Primary Separation Plant (the B204 reprocessing building) the 61 metre tall discharge stack is to be demolished at a rate of around 1 metre per week. At a combined height (building plus stack) of 122 metres, the old facility is the tallest historic structure (on right) on the site. Along with the Windscale Pile No 2 stack (on left), it stands out on the West Cumbrian skyline like the proverbial sore thumb. In 2005, a seismic assessment of the Primary Separation Plant and its associated stack was carried out and found to fail modern seismic standards. Ten years later in 2015 the stack was described by site owner Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as ‘posing a significant seismic risk to the Sellafield site’. Though process operations in the building below the stack were abandoned after an accident in 1973 (see later), the stack itself – despite its seismic instability – continued in use as a discharge point for radioactive gases to air until early 2016 when a new discharge stack was commissioned. Like its predecessor, this new Separation Area Ventilation stack (SAV) is designed to ‘ventilate’ – the industry’s currently fashionable word for discharge – a fleet of other old facilities.
CORE 16th Nov 2017 read more »