Local firms to collaborate on trial demolition job of one of Cumbria’s most iconic structures

3rd August 2022

A FOCAL point of one of Cumbria’s most iconic skylines is set to be demolished – but not before a team of local experts complete an essential trial run to ensure the job can be carried out safely.

The Pile 1 iconic chimney has dominated the landscape over Sellafield for decades, but it will be brought down in the coming years as the structure is decommissioned.

Ahead of the demolition job, a collaboration of Cumbrian firms plan to construct a replica of the chimney and then use new hydraulic equipment to demolish it to prove that the chosen methods would work.

A planning application has been submitted to Copeland Borough Council to demolish the bespoke concrete ring which will be created to accurately replicate the chimney with the same circumference of 15m, but only 7m in height. The dummy structure will be cut down with a newly developed Hydraulic SPIDA machine designed by ADAPT, a joint venture consisting of companies Doosan Babcock, Atkins and Orano.

The SPIDA structure is being fabricated by Glasgow company Cairnhill Structures. It is planned that the machine and the mock concrete barrel will be transported to Leconfield Industrial Estate, in Cleator Moor, to be tested and commissioned before two rows are cut out as a trial ahead of the actual work at Sellafield.

The trial is being facilitated by engineering firm Forth at the request of ADAPT. Forth has bases across Cumbria including the proposed trial site at Leconfield.

The trial run is standard procedure within the nuclear industry and is deemed necessary to ensure working practices are safe and sustainable ahead of any demolition work on an active, potentially hazardous, site.The trial works could last up to two years and, with an average of 30 people required on site each day, it is expected the project will create further job opportunities in Cumbria and also accelerate the plans for regeneration in Cleator Moor.

Graham Cartwright, the projects director at Forth, said: “What we are hoping to achieve with this project is to showcase the phenomenal talent and capabilities of the workforce in Cumbria to complete the required demolition job as part of such a major and landmark project for the local area.

“It’s about keeping, and creating, jobs locally, and preventing the workforce having to travel to Scotland to complete the project, thus reducing the carbon footprint of the project.

“Working together we can display all the skills needed and it will be a huge benefit to Cleator Moor and Cumbria for the job to be carried out locally.”

Paul Terry, Project Director for ADAPT said: “This proposal will make use of an unused area of the Leconfield Industrial Estate. It supports our desire to keep things local, reduce travel and use local resources and supply chain wherever possible.

“This innovative project for Sellafield will also bring additional focus to the industrial estate as it starts to make progress with its regeneration plan.”

On completion of the trial work, the site at Leconfield will be cleared and returned to a similar condition to its current state.

Leconfield Industrial Estate, where this work is due to take place, is part of a wider Industrial Solutions Hub (iSH) campus which will enable further collaboration between industry and SMEs, creating employment and helping to regenerate communities across West Cumbria.