Project details

Category: Transport and Packaging, Containment, Shielded Facilities

Status: Complete

Client: Gow’s Lybster Limited

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Aims and Objectives

Aquila was awarded the contract to design a receipt vessel, to store the pool of sodium remaining in the base of Dounreay’s Prototype Fast Reactor Vessel.

The design also required a transport skid for the receipt vessel, which incorporated appropriate radiation shielding for the radiological activity of the sodium.

Additionally, Aquila was contracted to design a small pressure vessel, a small vacuum vessel and a transportation skid, to be utilised in the pumping system removing the sodium. The transportation skid housed the two vessels, all the control cabinets, and the pumping system mast and hoses.

About the client

Gow’s Lybster Ltd is a family run business established in 1987. Gow’s provides design, draughting, steel fabrication, machining and installation services to a variety of industries and multinationals.



Project Overview

Gow’s Lybster awarded Aquila the contract to design a receipt vessel, integrated into a shielded transportation skid, to receive the sodium that was used as a heat transfer medium within a Reactor Vessel (RV) at Dounreay. In 1994, approximately 90 tonnes of sodium were transferred from the RV and disposed via the Sodium Disposal Plant. Due to the extract system configuration, a pool of liquid sodium remains in the base of the RV known as the Heel Pool – this sodium is currently in a solidified state.

For this sodium to be removed from the Heel Pool, it will need to be converted into a liquid state and then pumped out.

Aquila also designed two small ‘Gas Panel’ vessels and a Transport Skid, to house the control panels and mast assembly, utilised to remove the sodium from the Heel Pool.


Aquila designed a solution that met the client’s specifications and also carried out the task at hand. This project took into consideration a number of different aspects, from the location of where the transportation skid would be used, to the long term safe storage of the sodium.