DOUNREAY SPHERE: Design & Construction, the

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  • Power resources


  • Documentary
  • Industrial


  • 1950s

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Title: DOUNREAY SPHERE: Design & Construction, the

Reference number: 3915

Date: 1955 - 1957

Sponsor: United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority

Production company: Ace Film Production

Sound: sound

Original format: 16mm

Colour: bw

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 31.42 mins

Description: Factual record of the construction of Dounreay Power Station on the Caithness coast, detailing the construction of spherical steel shell, vault and airlock for reactor, welding, scaffolding and concrete procedures involved.

See also ref. 2756

Credits: p. Frank Green
ph. John Miller, Mike Dunn, Leo Waller, P. Cartwright, H. Harrison, Ken Gordon
sc. Douglas Dale
nar. Frank Phillips
p. man. John S. Green
assistant Phil Sarvis

Shotlist: ecs (0.29) exts Dounreay atomic power station (0.40) diagram representing the reactor, a reinforced concrete vault built on steel, where reactor vessel, core and cooling facilities reside. Also shows the containing spherical steel shell and adjoining airlock (1.36) another diagram showing the foundations of the reactor and how the building was constructed on top (2.24) gvs barren, thinly populated and remote landscape around Dounreay, on the rocky Caithness coast (2.54) gvs men building foundations on hard Caithness rock, a lot of pick and shovel work, shots of cranes, digging machinery and pouring concrete foundations (4.02) views of men working on permanent brickwork shuttering, general detail about how building work progressed until foundations were complete and cleaned (4.41) shot of the 'anchor' being driven by lorry in to the site (4.55) gvs 'anchor' being unloaded and put in to place (5.50) centre flange cleaned up and retaining lugs welded on (5.58) plates put in place (each having been cold pressed hydraulically, grit blasted and zinc sprayed) (6.21) hangar on site used as workshop with shots of men assembling plates, explanation of steel specifications (7.34) shot of plates being transported to construction site, assembly of plates by workmen (8.21) brief exts the Motherwell Bridge and Engineering Company, ints of men working on skirt rings v/o explains elements of design for withstanding sodium fires (9.02) shot of skirt rings undergoing surface inspection and fitness checks by surveyors (9.59) shots of tier plates lined up and fixed into position with carrot clamps (10.24) steel tower lifted and fixed to anchor by crane (10.53) class one welders working on vertical circumferential welds, c/u of these (11.38) radial booms attached from the tower and lower tiers of sphere assembled (14.33) ints of sphere, and interior 'skirt' (15.29) gvs airlock door plate being transported by lorry to Port of Leith and loaded on ship (15.45) shot of harbour at Scrabster, Caithness (15.50) gvs airlock door being transported over narrow roads and bridges to Dounreay, assembled on site (16.38) shots of cranes and construction machinery- wind girder catwalk, gabbards (17.18) gvs men at work on interior of sphere, constructing steel shuttering to protect vault from radiation (19.03) shots of concrete delivered to construction areas on specially constructed monorail, shots of men working on concrete construction by night (20.15) various shots of interior roof of chamber with maze of radial steel girders, c/u positioning and measuring fixtures and filling with concrete (22.06) shot of completed vault (22.15) c/u radial booms held by steel ropes attached to steel tower, gvs construction of top half of sphere with c/u of internal welding (25.31) difficulties with construction of tenth and final tier, impressive views of the inside, covered in circular scaffolding (26.14) airlock tunnel and outer door put in place (28.08) shots of reactor vault with installation of reactor pumps, heat exchangers and reactor vessel (29.18) shots of airlock doors, with men operating controls manually (30.01) pressure and vacuum tests are carried out with strain gauges and pressure tests (31.42) [abrupt ending, incomplete]