On Monday 29th June, the RACE team started the next phase of their installation work on the Active Cells – a radioactive waste processing facility being delivered by RACE as part of the UK’s contribution to the European Spallation Source. “ESS” will be the most powerful neutron source in the world and is currently under construction in Lund, Sweden.
Following the successful installation of a set of crane rails in January, the work will start the installation phase of complex UKAEA designed and supplied electrical distribution network for the Active Cells facility. The current phase involves installing 300 m of cable management in the Technical Galleries which surround the Active Cells themselves. These will carry the electrical power and signals around the facility, and into the Active Cells to operate Robots that will cut up and package radioactive waste generated during operation of the ESS. The Active Cells electrical distribution system is a unique, fully remotely maintainable system and the current installation work will provide the metaphorical foundations for every other aspect of the project.
To the untrained eye, the Technical Galleries contain a tangled knot of different services: ventilation systems, sprinklers, specialist gases, electrical distribution, safety systems and much more. The design of the cable routing has been the work of many months, and requires careful coordination with other designers across Europe, each with their own requirements and priorities. Our Design Team, which included Will Drew, Adam Hager, Tom Mundy, Oliver Moore, Edward Ford and Mike van de Mortel, have worked incredibly hard to get the drawings completed in time for the start of installation.
Despite the current COVID restrictions across the world, construction work in Sweden is continuing at a rapid pace and the huge ESS construction site is replete with multi-national teams working to tight timescales.
RACE’s Installation Lead Simon McGuiness has spent many hours in careful negotiation and coordination with his Swedish counterparts to make sure that the area will be ready for us to start work, and that we will have access to deliver the hardware needed. This is especially difficult with the current travel restrictions, and we have resolved this by employing local contractors to carry out the work which will be monitored remotely from here in the UK.
This work is essential to keep the rest of the project on schedule and marks the start of a real ramp up in activity for RACE on the Active Cells project and installation work will be ongoing throughout 2020 and 2021, with final commissioning taking place in 2022.