Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
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Minister gets takes first ever ‘virtual tour of Sellafield’

Visits from government ministers are a vital way of showing the scale of the decommissioning challenge at Sellafield.

When Sellafield received a visit request from the Minister for Business and Industry, Nadhim Zahawi, the team on site had a different kind of challenge to overcome – how could we provide a guided tour during lockdown?

Like so many other things at the moment, the answer lay online and Sellafield Ltd’s Spatial Team were able to provide the minister with a virtual tour of our most iconic facilities – a first for the site.

Satellite images of the buildings, drone footage, 3D imagery and video were blended together to offer a unique interactive story of the Sellafield site.

The tour included our iconic Windscale Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor – known as the ‘golf ball’, Windscale Chimney, Thorp, Calder Hall, and the Legacy Ponds and Silos.

Head of Geospatial for Sellafield Ltd, Richard McGrath, yesterday said:

We were already working on creating a way for us to tell our story - using all the photos, scans, videos and 3D imagery that we’ve built up from around the site.

Our eventual aim is to have something that anyone can use, through a web browser, to offer an immersive experience without the need to visit our site.

We’ve still got some work to do, but the minister’s visit was an excellent way to demonstrate the progress we’ve made so far.

The minister was accompanied on his guided tour by Sellafield Ltd Chief Executive, Martin Chown, Chief Operating Officer, Rebecca Weston, and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Chief Executive, David Peattie.

The virtual tour of the Sellafield site.

Rebecca yesterday said:

As a minister for our sponsoring government department, it’s really important that Nadhim has an understanding of our mission and the problems we have to overcome.

With visits an impossibility right now, we knew we had to find a different way of sharing that information. Pulling together 3D imagery, animated fly-throughs and videos in this way really helped give a living, breathing picture of the site – almost as good as being there in person.

It showed how the work Richard and his team are doing will be vital to our employees and stakeholders when it is available for wider use.


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