A total of forty of these striking vehicles were built in three batches for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) by WH Davis in the UK between 2014 and 2019, numbered 11 70 9229 001-040. They are used for carrying spent fuel from nuclear power stations and sites undergoing decommissioning to the facility at Sellafield for reprocessing or storage. The FNA-D continues Accurascale’s popular and well-regarded range of nuclear vehicles that includes the KUA bogie flask carrier and the PFA two-axle container flat.
The wagons, which also carry the UIC code ‘Uas’ are a like-for-like replacement for the iconic fleet of BR and Procor-built FNA nuclear flask wagons that were built between 1976 and 1988, now all scrapped. The major updates are bodysides with exposed framing and the distinctive Barber BER22.5 ‘Easy Ride’ low track force bogies. Internally the vessel support structures are designed to carry a wider range of flask designs. Accurascale has obsessively replicated these characteristic features in the smaller scale with a composite die-cast and plastic design that includes full underframe detail and brake equipment.
Despite the number of working nuclear power stations shrinking dramatically since the turn of the millennium, the FNA-D wagons can still be seen over much of the UK, usually between one and five wagons behind a pair of Direct Rail Services (DRS) locomotives. These operational sites are Hartlepool, Heysham 1 & 2, Torness and Sizewell B.
However, three closed locations are undergoing the de-fuelling process and shipping irradiated fuel rods to Sellafield: Dungeness B, Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B. Meanwhile, Valley loading point, for the former Wylfa facility on Anglesey, completed this process in 2019, but still sees irregular visits by flask trains, as does Georgemas Junction, which serves the experimental reactors at Dounreay.