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Following the decision taken by the British government in January 1947 to develop nuclear weapons, Sellafield was chosen as the location of the plutonium production plant, with the initial fuel loading into the Windscale Piles commencing in July 1950. By July 1952 the separation plant was being used to separate plutonium and uranium from spent fuel.
The Windscale Piles were shut down following a fire in Pile 1 on 10 October 1957 which destroyed the core and released an estimated 750 terabecquerels of radioactive material into the surrounding environment. To date this is the third worse Nuclear Incident in the world. And the demolition of Pile 1 is the number one priority of the World Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Members of the 3RM Associates Team were asked to get involved with the decommissioning of the filter gallery demolition of Pile 1, this is the first phase of the stacks demolition. As the team were only approached prior to start of work on site the 3RM Team could not provide the earlier upfront support to the project.
As a result the team assessed the current proposals and recommended a complete change to the proposed Temporary Works and planned sequence of Demolition to ensure the safest solution in a short programme, as is feasibly possible and to the costs agreed. Taking into account the environment of the work and the inherent risks in this environment as well as the fact it is 110 metres above ground level.