Monday 27 February 2012
End of an era for the Pacific Sandpiper
After 25 years of exemplary service to the global nuclear industry, the Pacific Sandpiper has recently been recycled by International Nuclear Services (INS) using specialists in the Netherlands and Belgium.
As an INF3 class vessel, the Pacific Sandpiper joined the Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd (PNTL) fleet in 1985. PNTL, as a subsidiary of INS, used the Pacific Sandpiper to transport spent nuclear fuel, research reactor fuel and latterly to transport vitrified high level waste (HLW), travelling principally between Europe and Japan. The Pacific Sandpiper was replaced as part of a programme of three new vessels to the PNTL fleet, delivered by INS between 2008 and 2010 (see news story from 24 December 2010 – Coming home for Christmas – new PNTL vessel docks in Barrow).
The recycling of the Pacific Sandpiper was completed on the 2nd December 2011 and the final accounting and paperwork, received on the 24th February 2012, reveal that the recycling achieved over 98% of materials returned to productive use with the project completed on-time and below budget. Chris Purdy, Project Manager for the decommissioning of the vessel, stated “INS is very pleased with the successful completion of this recycling project. In addition to the recycling of general materials, we were also able to help a number of charities within our local communities with the donation of equipment from the vessel.”
The decommissioning of the Pacific Sandpiper was undertaken safely and in the most environmentally responsible way possible. The method used satisfied all the internationally recognised regulations and guidelines for this kind of operation.