Metalcraft are delighted to announce that today it has officially opened a bespoke production facility at the Chatteris site to manufacture high integrity nuclear waste containers which will play a key role in the decommissioning of high hazard legacy’s at Sellafield.
Stainless Metalcraft won a contract in 2015, initially worth £47m, to manufacture three metre cubed boxes to store intermediate level waste retrieved from Sellafield’s Pile Fuel Cladding Silos. It has now completed the development of a 1,600 square metre production facility in Chatteris, with potential to expand the site to 3,200 square metres as demand increases.
As part of the project, an investment has been made in excess of £2m on capital expenditure to purchase plant and equipment tools for the facility. This includes a robotic welding cell offering both plasma and MIG welding; two new machine tool cells; test and assembly cells incorporating vacuum, pressure and dimensional inspection facilities; and a specialist cavity mixing and filling cell installed at the site.
Austen Adams, managing director of Stainless Metalcraft and Avingtrans PLC’s Energy and Medical division, said: “The decommissioning of the UK’s nuclear legacy is a challenging task, and we’re delighted that Sellafield recognised the specialist skills that we offer here in the Fens. Opening the new facility is a real landmark in delivering this important contract and was a significant challenge as construction works – including strengthening foundations to support the heavy machine tools required – had to go on alongside existing operations.”
Part of the decision-making process to award the contract to Metalcraft was the company’s commitment to delivering a socio-economic package as part of the programme.
Austen continued: “We have already welcomed 17 new apprentices to our team since the contract win, and are delighted to be creating jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities here in the Fens. The new site is will employ multi-skilled workers across a range of roles, including our apprentices, who should be ready to start contributing to the programme after the second year of their course. In this, the centenary year of our apprentice scheme, we’re particularly proud to be able to offer genuine career prospects to the next generation of engineers and we hope the Sellafield contract will be the first in a long line of contracts we can bring to the region.”
Martin Chown, Supply Chain Director at Sellafield, who officially opened the new facility, said: “We’re really pleased with the progress made by the team at Stainless Metalcraft and the opening of this site is a real landmark for the project. The three metre cubed boxes are an essential component of our decommissioning programme and the team at Metalcraft has worked tirelessly to develop the site while also producing the first prototype boxes.”
Ron Gorham, Head of Supply Chain Optimisation at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said: “We’re delighted with the new facility and looking forward to it become home to a new generation of talented nuclear engineers. The company’s commitment to the project was rightfully recognised at our Supply Chain Awards last month, when Metalcraft was awarded the prestigious Minister’s Award in recognition of its track record training engineers and aspiration to recruit up to 10 apprentices every year until at least 2020. Their approach gives us confidence that we will have a manufacturer capable of supplying their products and equipment for high integrity, mission critical items well into the future, with the next generation of engineers trained and developed to the highest standards.”