Highlands & Islands

Tacky solution to Dounreay reactor core problem

Sticky putty Image copyright Thinkstock

Blu-Tack has been used to take samples from inside the core of a nuclear reactor, saving thousands of pounds in developing a specialist tool.

A team at Dounreay were faced with the challenge of retrieving small pieces of radioactive metal from inside the site's Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR).

They came up with placing a blob of the tacky substance on a 10m (32ft) rod which was inserted deep into the PFR.

The metal sticks to the soft adhesive and can then be collected for analysis.

Can openers

Dounreay, near Thurso in Caithness, is being closed down at a cost of about more than £1bn.

Teams involved in the decommissioning and clean up work have frequently been asked to find cost-effective ways of dealing with hazardous radioactive material.

Other household items have been put to use at the site, including kitchen can openers and soup tin-sized cans that have held radioactive material for more than 30 years.

And a silver ironing board cover and a duvet have protected a robotic camera built to explore pipes inside the Dounreay Fast Reactor.

Image copyright DSRL
Image caption Dounreay in Caithness is being closed down and the site cleaned up at a cost of more than £1bn

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