Dounreay was home to commercial fast reactor development in the UK. Following the construction and operation of the Dounreay Fast Reactor, a sodium-cooled Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR), was constructed. PFR started operating in 1974, closed in 1994 and is presently being decommissioned. To date the bulk of the sodium has been removed and treated. Due to the design of the existing extraction system however, a sodium pool will remain in the heel of the reactor. To remove this sodium, a pump/camera system was developed, tested and deployed. The Water Vapour Nitrogen (WVN) process has been selected to allow removal of the final sodium residues from the reactor. Due to the design of the reactor and potential for structural damage should Normal WVN (which produces hydrated sodium hydroxide) be used, Low Concentration WVN (LC WVN) has been developed. Pilot scale testing has shown that it is possible treat the reactor within 18 months at a WVN concentration of up to 4% v/v and temperature of 120°C. At present the equipment that will be used to apply LC WVN to the reactor is being developed at the detail design stage and is expected to be deployed within the next few years.

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