Case Study

Remediation of Contaminated Ground at the Former MC40 Cyclotron, Hammersmith

The dedicated expertise of Aurora’s team, with its on-site Aurora Laboratory, helped reduce significant waste costs for MRC. The resulting saving to MRC was over £500,000.

Remediation & Decommissioning

The Background

The MC40 cyclotron unit at the Hammersmith Hospital in North London was the world’s first hospital based unit used for the production of radiopharmaceuticals.

Installed in 1955, until its closure and removal in 2010 it provided a lifetime of useful service supporting the Hospital in the creation of radioactive compounds.

Following demolition of the building that housed the cyclotron in the basement in 2015, it was found that areas of the remaining below ground walls and floor had been made radioactive due to continual bombardment over the years by the emissions from the cyclotron in a process termed “activation”. This activation left behind a radioactive legacy requiring remediation prior to redevelopment.

The Challenges

Following demolition of the building in 2015, the owners of the site, the United Kingdom Research and Innovation – Medical Research Council (UKRI MRC) surrendered the Site’s Radioactive Substances Permit.

To lead redevelopment of the site, UKRI MRC appointed Walter Lilly as the Principal Contractor who employed Acorn Groundworks to prepare the site, including removal of the remaining below ground radioactive legacies.

Though both the Principal Contractor and the Groundworks Company had significant experience with redevelopment projects, neither had any experience of working with radioactive contamination or managing radioactive waste.

Aurora’s role on the site was to support UKRI MRC, Walter Lilly and Acorn Groundworks to ensure that the work undertaken on the site was designed and undertaken using the principles of best available techniques (BAT) and that waste minimisation was a key driver throughout the works.

The Tasks

As the UK’s leading radioactive land remediation consultants, Aurora were commissioned by UKRI MRC to support them, Walter Lilly and Acorn Groundworks with:

  • Preparing documentation for UKRI MRC to submit to the Environment Agency to obtain a Radioactive Substances Activities Environmental Permit to accumulate and dispose of radioactive waste.
  • Appointment as the Radiation Protection Adviser and Radioactive Waste Adviser to UKRI MRC, the Principal Contractor and the Groundworks Contractor.
  • Preparation of documentation to support both compliance with the new Permit conditions and with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017.
  • Preparing waste characterisation documentation and liaising with waste recipients for the disposal of radioactive material from the site.
  • Deployment of the Aurora Mobile Laboratory to the site enabling immediate delivery of analysis results from samples collected from the waste both for Permit compliance and to provide information to the Waste Recipient.
  • Carrying out on site radiological monitoring to allow the segregation and minimisation of waste as it was removed from the ground.
  • Liaison with the Environment Agency, ensuring that the Regulator had confidence that the work was proceeding in accordance with the Permit conditions and that the principles of both BAT and waste minimisation were being achieved.
  • Working with the Groundworks Team to ensure effective assessment of the removed material and sample collection within the confines of a small site ensuring the delivery programme was achieved.
  • Working with the Groundworks Team through on-site surveys and use of the on-site laboratory to analyse samples to confirm the radiological endpoints.
  • Upon completion of the work prepare the suite of documentation for submission to the Environment Agency for UKRI MRC to surrender the Permit

The Results

A Radioactive Substances Permit was granted by the Environment Agency to allow the project to commence, and upon completion of the works the Permit was successfully surrendered.

Through rigorous monitoring on site, application of BAT and close liaison with the groundworks Team and the Principal Contractor, Aurora reduced the planned permitted waste volumes by over 90% equivalent to over £500,000 of savings in waste costs to the Client.

Use of the on-site Aurora Laboratory allowed time critical access to sample analysis results giving confidence that waste was only processed and handled once, and the waste could be transferred off site at the convenience of the Principal Contractor.

Client Benefits

  • 90% reduction in waste volume
  • £500,000 savings

MRC engaged Aurora for RWA, RPA services relating to the surveying and radiological remediation of a brownfield site remaining from the demolition of the MRC’s Cyclotron Building at Hammersmith Hospital Campus London.
Auroras’ consultancy and site services were first class. Their highly experienced and professional staff very competently take care of all steps and interfaces relating to the radiological works. I would not hesitate to recommend Aurora to any perspective client seeking services in radiation protection.

Bryan Little CEng MIMechE

MRC Project Manager • LMS Building Project

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