Jacobs has been selected by Radioactive Waste Management, a subsidiary of the U.K. government's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, to study the release of radioactivity from irradiated graphite sampled from reactor cores at the U.K.'s nuclear power stations, Jacobs reported on Tuesday.
"Our Technology and Innovation Centre at Birchwood Park, Warrington, is applying this graphite knowledge to work through options for safe and timely characterization, retrieval, treatment and storage solutions to meet the growing global decommissioning market," said Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions Senior Vice President Clive White.
RWM has commissioned Jacobs to measure and characterize releases of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 and compare it with releases from irradiated graphite in earlier reactor types, including the U.K.'s first generation of Magnox civil nuclear power stations.
Jacobs' research will support RWM in their analysis of graphite behavior and the options for graphite waste management in the future. The research will have a significant bearing on the safe management and disposal of graphite wastes arising from the decommissioning of 14 advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGR).
AGR generates nearly 20 percent of the country's electricity but is projected to be phased out over the next 10 years. The contract has an initial duration of two years. Subject to experimental program results, it may be extended by an additional two years.
"We're combining our leading graphite knowledge from our Integrated Waste Management team at Harwell, our role as designer and architect engineer of the Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR) and Magnox reactors, and our work on operational support and life extension," added White.
The contract award follows Jacobs recent close of John Wood Group's nuclear business acquisition in March 2020. Jacobs purchased the company for approximately $325 million in cash as part of efforts to improve its position as a provider of nuclear lifecycle services and technology-based platforms.
Steve Demetriou, chair and CEO of Jacobs, said that the company will integrate Wood Nuclear into its critical mission solutions business and combine complementary capabilities to deliver nuclear and defense platforms to clients.
With the acquisition, Jacobs has absorbed Wood Nuclear's more than 2 thousand employees as a result of the transaction with plans to hire 300 to 400 additional personnel over the next year. The company also intends to invest in nuclear testing, research and development facilities at Birchwood Park in the U.K. to provide inspection technology, remote handling and cyber capabilities.
Jacobs initially announced the transaction in Aug. 2020. The company expects the deal to continue to expand its technical capabilities in clean energy, environmental restoration and nuclear decommissioning and clean-up areas.
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