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Calder Hall, a pioneer of the nuclear industry as the world’s first commercial power plant, continues to be a global beacon of excellence.
The Calder team has been named URS’s Energy & Construction Division’s safe project of the year after racking up a staggering seven and a half years without a lost time accident – achieved whilst tackling one of the most complex decommissioning challenges in the world.
It is the first time in the history of URS that this safety recognition has gone to a non-American based project.
Nuclear Management Partner’s Spent Fuel Management Director for Sellafield Ltd, Scott Sax, said: “These awards are very significant indeed. URS employs more that 56,000 employees and operates in 465 cities across nearly 50 countries around the world – and we are the first UK project to ever win one of these awards.”
Calder Hall was up against a number of projects from all over the world – the majority of which operate without the added pressure of being on a nuclear site.
Scott added: “When you look at the things the Calder team has achieved, from the demolition of the cooling towers to undertaking the largest asbestos strip in Europe, they are significant challenges which would be difficult on any site.
“But we aren’t any site – we have the added scrutiny and difficulty that comes with being a nuclear site, and an old nuclear site. This makes the achievement all the more remarkable.
“Calder Hall of course was opened by the Queen, way back in the 1950s, before I was even born. It is fitting that it should win this award during her diamond jubilee year.”
Tom Zarges, President of URS’ Energy and Construction Division and Chairman of Nuclear Management Partners, said: “As partners in NMP, the parent body for Sellafield Ltd, we are only too well aware of the challenge the company faces in dealing with the legacy of the UK’s early nuclear industry.
“The team at Sellafield is meeting that challenge head on, and delivering world class performance, as it has for generations. They really are the best of the best.”
Calder Hall has been synonymous with nuclear power since it was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1956 – a pioneer in energy generation as the world’s first commercial power plant.
Built in a by-gone age where little thought was given to how today’s generation of Sellafield workers would decommission it, Calder Hall produced electricity for the national grid for 47 years, before finally closing in 2003.
And now, as the UK prepares to enter its second nuclear age, cleaning up the legacy of the past is moving at a pace at Calder Hall, with the defuelling programme, which will see the removal 40,000 fuel rods from the four reactors, well underway.
Once all the fuel has been removed from Calder Hall the reactors and associated infrastructure will progressively be decommissioned to enable the site to enter into a ‘care and maintenance’ phase.