THE first ever drone surveys have been carried out at Sellafield.
James Fisher Nuclear (JFN) - which has a plant in Egremont and is part of Barrow-headquartered James Fisher & Sons - provided an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the job and worked with WYG, a consultancy firm which is based in Cockermouth.
The work saw the firm use a drone to complete the task at the high security chemical separation (SEP) active area at Sellafield, meaning the work could be carried out without the need to erect scaffolding and special access vehicles.
The survey of the chimney stack assessed how the chimney’s cowling, at the very top of the stack, was constructed.
It will be used to help Sellafield's managers work out how to remove it safely.
The SEP active area contains a lot of Sellafield’s older production facilities and is a very compact part of the site.
Two further flights were carried out around all sides of the chimney to provide WYG with sufficient information to create a 3D model of the stack.
The pilots then carried out a final pass over the top of the stack to look inside the flue itself.
John Daniel, of Sellafield, said: “This was certainly an impressive use of UAV technology.
"Within the first 7 minutes, the JFN and WYG team gave us key information we could not ascertain from the existing drawing record. The new information the UAV has provided helps the project fully understand what is awaiting the demolition team when it reaches the top, and preparations can be made to ensure a safe and efficient transition from climb to demolition can be made."
More aerial surveys at Sellafield may now be carried out.
Mike Rogers, field service manager for JFN, said: “The inspection could not have gone any better. The project engineers were extremely impressed with the clarity of the photos from the high resolution camera and the detail it captured and it had pretty much answered the questions that they were looking for.”
Alex Grainger, project manager at WYG, said he was "delighted" to be working with JFN on the project.
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