Household cleaner used on nuclear waste

A chance discovery by a worker involved in a nuclear clean up has revealed a £1.99 bottle of kitchen spray can tackle plutonium.

Dounreay Site Restoration Limited is carrying out the £9m dismantling of a former nuclear facility in Dounreay and decided to use Cillit Bang after seeing it in a TV advert.

One employee saw the advert, where the product is used to remove grime from a 2p piece, and suggested using it for wiping off plutonium from steel before it’s cut up for removal.

Traditional methods to remove plutonium meant workers needed to wait while the product dried before wiping it off, which obviously meant wasted working time.

The company’s project manager, David Manson, said: “We need to decontaminate as much of the surfaces as possible before we can cut them up.

“The normal decontamination agents we’d use on steel and glass need time to dry and this slowed us down.

“The acids that had been used years ago also created problems it meant we had to think carefully about the most effective way to wipe the plutonium from the steelwork before we could cut it up.

“At one of our regular toolbox talks one of the guys suggested we use Cillit Bang, he remembered seeing it dissolve grime in the advert and thought it was worth looking at.

“I’m very glad we did, we tested it and found it to be very effective.”

Luke Walsh

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