STUDENTS from Wirral Grammar School for Girls have completed an eco project with nuclear power giant URENCO.

The group of five spent seven months working with URENCO's Capenhurst plant in Cheshire, on an engineering programme aimed at ensuring that URENCO continues to meet the high environmental standards of water quality being discharged into the River Dee.

The project, part of the school's Engineering Education Scheme, was also entered into the UK Junior Water prize run by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

It was selected as one of the six finalists and the students were invited to London for the finals last week.

They had to present in front of a panel of high profile judges, including senior figures from CIWEM, the Royal Society of Chemistry and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Wirral Grammar School for Girls assistant headteacher Tom Johnson said: "This has been a complex but thoroughly rewarding project for the girls, who all feel very strongly about the region’s environment.

"As part of its operations, URENCO takes water from the River Dee for its coolant system.

"The challenge was to ensure that any water discharged met the stringent standards set by the Envoronment Agency for levels of copper, which could lead to financial penalties should they ever be exceeded.

"Our students were invited to investigate several ways of reducing the amount of copper ions in the water, and they have now built a prototype system using one of these methods.

"The girls' mentor at URENCO, engineer Antony Nicholls, has been very impressed and said he will be keeping in touch with the girls to discuss their ideas further."

Antony Nicholls added: "The girls worked really hard on the project and made a good team – as a result they produced a great piece of work that they should be very proud of."

URENCO invests heavily in its education initiatives, working with schools across the UK on the Engineering Education Scheme.