Sellafield set a challenge for students at Priestley College, and asked young scientists to work out how to decommission silos containing low-level nuclear waste as part of a competition run by the Engineering Education Scheme.
“This was such a valuable experience for the students as they were able to work on a real life scenario and work with professional scientists and engineers,” said Priestley tutor Adrian Birchenough.
The Priestley team of five year 12 students designed a mechanical arm that could be used to extract the waste from inside the silos.
They were mentored by two Sellafield engineers and went on to build a model version of the arm to prove it would work.
The students produced a written report on their work and finally at the Celebration and Assessment Day at Liverpool University in April, the students produced poster display to summarise their work and gave a presentation to a panel six professional engineers. They demonstrated full understanding of their work and received particular praise for their problem solving.
Their project was also submitted to the British Science Association who honoured it with a CREST Gold Award.
“The students worked very hard and represented Priestley College well throughout the project,” said Adrian.
“This is something we take part in every year and it is a challenge that proves very valuable to the students who take part.”