Flying high in Cumbria

Posted by Hazel Duhy on in Sector Group News, Construction, Manufacturing and Nuclear New Build, Member News.

Flying high in Cumbria

WYG (a BECBC member) have been working with their Cumbria Nuclear Solutions Ltd consortium partner, James Fisher Nuclear (JFN), to support an important Sellafield Ltd. decommissioning project, undertaking a drone survey of a stack, which is approximately 120m above ground level.

The UAV survey of the chimney stack in the Active Area accurately assessed how the chimney’s cowling, at the very top of the stack, was attached. This will allow Sellafield Ltd, with the help of WYG's 3D imaging and civil engineering consultancy, to compile an accurate method statement for its safe demolition.

After the initial flight of around 7 minutes, they provided the first set of footage and played it back for the Sellafield team to view. 

One of the on-site Sellafield engineers said:  “This was certainly an impressive use of UAV technology. It gave us more information about the stack in that first 7 minutes than we have ever had. This is a simple and efficient way to safely inspect areas like this in a fraction of the time and cost needed for scaffolding or bringing in special access vehicle and without staff working at height."

Alex Grainger, Project Manager at WYG, said: “We are delighted to have our Cumbria Nuclear Solution Limited (CNSL) consortium partner, James Fisher Nuclear, on board to support us on this project through our single source contract with Sellafield to provide Civil Inspections and Topographical Surveying (CITS) Services to support Sellafield Ltd. achieve their asset management objectives and to inform the decommissioning process.”

CITS Framework Director, Gareth Clarke, added: “this has been the culmination of many years of effort to bring this innovation to the Sellafield Site. The use of UAV’s in combination with our nuclear SQEP surveying and engineering capability has the potential to add significant value to the decommissioning process as seen in this project.”

WYG carried out 2 more flights around all sides of the stack to provide enough information to produce a 3D model and a condition inspection of the stack. The pilots then carried out a final inspection of the inside of the stack, which was believed to be too difficult to access, this was done with ease and posed no threat to any equipment which again demonstrated to the capabilities of the UAV.

WYG see their Geospatial team’s drone capability as a great vehicle for efficient data capture, offering significant time and cost savings. This should complement our broad sphere of technical consultancy to offer added value to their clients.