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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Test facility takes shape

A £3 million facility, which will create around 20 jobs, is being built in Flimby.

Work has begun at Forth Engineering on a new research and development building.

The move will see long-reach robotic technology developed and used to replicate conditions at Sellafield’s radioactive storage ponds.

The building is due to be completed this year.

Mark Telford, Forth Engineering managing director, said: “All the new jobs created as a result of this expansion will be for local people.

“The current economic situation has been difficult for some, but there is work out there only now you have to actively look for it. This development has been built with the future before us in mind.”

Mr Telford, 38, said that part of Sellafield’s decommissioning programme was to find a way to retrieve redundant equipment, a legacy in developing Britain’s nuclear deterrent, which was stored in the ponds.

The firm’s new facility will be used to meet this challenge and will include a pond holding 6.5 million litres of water.

The space will test methods which are likely to occur in a real-life situation at Sellafield.

It will also have two huge gantry cranes, which were delivered on site at the end of last year.

As part of the programme, the company will be involved in developing an NVQ course in the new technology being used at the site.

Mr Telford, who is also a governor at Lakes College, Lillyhall, said: “We are working on the new qualification which is being led by Lakes College and will run alongside this new facility.

“It will be available for anyone from Sellafield employees to Lakes College trainees and our staff. There are 70 years of decommissioning ahead of us and there is a massive lack of the correct skills needed.”

A spokesman for the First Generation Storage Pond Retrievals team said: “It is vital to have this new facility on our doorstep. The cost of accommodation alone would be terrific otherwise.”

He said Forth Engineering had a proven record with Sellafield.

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