Graham Cartwright, the projects director at engineering firm Forth.

PLANNING permission has been granted for a project which will be a key step in preparing for the next stage in the demolition of the iconic Pile 1 chimney at Sellafield.

Copeland Borough Council has approved plans from a collaboration of Cumbrian companies to construct a mock chimney structure to be used for demonstrating the use of an innovative demolition platform, which will be used to complete the demolition of the Pile 1 chimney in coming years.

The project is being led by ADAPT, a joint venture consisting of companies Altrad Babcock, Atkins and Orano, and they will be assisted by engineering firm Forth and other local companies to complete the essential trial run to ensure the demolition can be carried out safely, and effectively.

Sketches of the Hydraulic SPIDA machine set to be used to demolish an iconic chimney at Sellafield.

The work, to be carried out at Forth’s base in Leconfield Industrial Estate in Cleator Moor, will see a replica of the chimney constructed by DSD at the same circumference of 15m, but only 7m in height, and then demolished making use of a new SPIDA hydraulic platform designed by ADAPT and fabricated by Glasgow company Cairnhill Structures.

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.

During the trial, it is anticipated the project will create many new job opportunities in Cumbria with up to 30 people required on site each day.

Graham Cartwright, the projects director at Forth, said: “We are delighted to get the green light for this vital project as it will prove that the talent we have here in Cumbria can carry out such major operations.

“It’s important that this work is carried out in advance of the actual decommissioning of the Pile 1 chimney, and we’re looking forward to getting underway with the project.”

Paul Terry, Project Director for ADAPT said: “As a collective, we are very keen to keep jobs and work in the area and use local resources where we can. We are pleased to be able to make use of an unused area of Leconfield Industrial Estate.

“Demolishing the Pile 1 chimney at Sellafield will be a landmark moment for Cumbria, and we need to ensure that we have everything in place and in working order ahead of such a major project.”