Contractors World UK & Ireland Vol 3 No 6 - page 21

the initial five month planning and
procurement phase, RVA then project
managed the extensive and highly
complex 30 week decommissioning
programme. This included super-
vising plant isolation, demolition and
clearance of facilities including nitric
acid, ammonia, carbon dioxide and
ammonium nitrate production plants,
utilities equipment, laboratories and office
buildings across nine separate locations
within the site.
The practical challenges encountered on
such large-scale decommissioning projects
are substantial. For example, many areas of
the process plants contain hazardous mate-
rials; corrosive, toxic or flammable, and
often these substances become embedded
and largely inaccessible. A great deal of
attention, therefore, has to be deployed in
preparing equipment and bringing it to a
‘known state’.
Getting the right balance
Striking the optimum balance for the
cleaning regime is a vital aspect of the work.
G o i n g
beyond what is required
can lead
to avoidable operative
exposure to hazards and
unnecessary costs. Not
going far enough and
problems can arise
and waste disposal. The importance of
getting this element of work fully documented
and competently executed should not be
The complexities of the Severnside
project presented a number of additional
challenges: the deployment of traditional
dismantling techniques for example, was
complemented by the controlled use of
explosives to bring down the 100 metre
tall Prill Manufacturing Tower, which once
produced ammonium nitrate fertiliser
Speaking of the decision to use explo-
sive engineering methods, RVA’s opera-
tions director Ian Wharton explained:
“Constructed entirely from reinforced
concrete the Prill Tower was tubular and
supported by 12 concrete legs. The process
vessels mounted at the top of the structure
where accessed via an external lift shaft
and attached staircase.
The GrowHow UK Ltd, Severnside
plant, located on the eastern bank of
the River Severn
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