Work begins on Buchan NORM waste plant

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Construction has started on a new £3million treatment plant at Stoneyhill to clean and recycle equipment from North Sea oil and gas operations affected by Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM).

NORM is a by-product of the oil and gas recovery process and develops over time as a mineral scale on the inside of pipes and valves.

Traditionally the waste has been disposed at sea, but development of the new processing plant at the Buchan location will present the North Sea oil and gas industry with the means to observe new environmental guidelines regarding the off-shore discharge of this material.

The new facility is being built by Nuvia SITA NORM Limited, a specialist joint venture company bringing together the nuclear industry experience of Nuvia Limited, one of the UK’s leading radiation protection and radioactive waste experts, with the recycling and waste management capabilities of SITA UK.

Initial construction works include the refurbishment of a building which will house the treatment process along with the installation of a containment system and ultra high pressure water jetting (UHPWJ) pumps and systems.

The de-scaling facility will operate under a Radioactive Substances Act (93) Authorisation which is expected to be issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) following consultation under the Euratom Treaty, Article 37 requirements.

NORM affected equipment delivered to site will be treated in a fully contained area with UHPWJ to safely remove mineral scale. Once de-scaled, metals and pipework may be reused or recycled and any scale removed will be treated and encapsulated in cement. This waste will then be consigned to landfill under authorisation at adjoining Stoneyhill.

Nuvia SITA NORM director, Alan Gerrard, tolsd the Buchanie: “This new treatment facility will provide the Oil & Gas industry with a simple and safe solution to NORM disposal.

“The plant at Stoneyhill will be first new plant in the Aberdeen area providing North Sea operators with a service compliant with the guidelines governing the treatment and disposal of NORM waste, allowing cleaned metals to be re-used or recycled and waste mineral scales to be disposed of safely and securely.”

Major works are scheduled for completion by the end of July with commissioning of the plant following soon after.

The recycling facility will bring extra employment to the region, with around 30 jobs during the construction and installation phase and an anticipated 13 positions when the facility becomes operational in the autumn.