Sunday, June 12, 2011

And This Is What We Do!

The Volume Reduction of a Sodium Cooled Nuclear Reactor Designed in the late '50's and Operated Until the Early 70's. 

The following selection of photographs show some of the unique work we do assisting with the Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) of nuclear facilities throughout the US.  We specialize with the design and implementation of remotely operated mechanical segmentation equipment to enable nuclear reactors to be removed, packaged and transported safely to be disposed of safely at various waste facilities in the US depending on the item's radiological characteristics.  This particular facility's reactor vessel (RV) was a very challenging one to deal with due to its complex design of having multiple layers of stainless steel thermal shields lining the stainless steel RV and a complex geometric arrangement.  Nonetheless we are close to safely and successfully completing this particular project.

We compare photographs of the area we have just performed a cut with the drawings from the late 50's prior to construction to understand the 'as built' condition and assess the efficiency and performance of our cutting equipment.

Rob (Ops Super) myself and PJ (Deputy PM) discuss the day's work

I compare the layout of the Upper Reactor Vessel (URV) vertical thermal shield layout with the original drawings to ascertain our Circumferential Hydraulically Operated Rotating Cutting Equipment (C-HORCE) performance.

I brief the Team of the cut locations in the URV Conical Section area pointing to the salient areas on the RV general layout drawing.

I discuss the proposed cut locations at the bottom of the URV where it joins the Lower Reactor Vessel (LRV) via the Transition deck (TD)

PJ concentrates as he controls the C-HORCE remotely via monitors and an umbilical cord connected control panel in the Steam Generator Building adjacent to the Reactor Building.

A view of the C-HORCE remote control station showing shots from four strategically placed cameras.

A photograph of the completed horizontal cut by the C-HORCE is enlarged to the same scale as the plan view drawing of the same location to ascertain the proposed against actual locations of the numerous Thermal Shields that line the RV.

The preceding four photographs show the URV Conical Section being removed out of the Primary Shield Tank (PST) following the successful completion of the horizontal cut the separated the Conical Section from the URV Cylindrical Section.  You can note the size of the section by comparison of some of the Team members managing the removal.The last picture shows the Section being placed upon the Volume Reduction Station (VRS) which performed the vertical cuts necessary to enable the section to be packaged and transported off-site by rail for disposal.

The above three photographs show the VRS and the RV Cylindrical section during and prior to the implementation of the necessary vertical cuts for the same purpose described above for the Conical section.

The above two photographs show the C-HORCE located within the confines of the remaining portion of the URV prior to and during the performance of the horizontal cut to release the URV Cylindrical Section from the TD hence LRV.