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NUCLEAR POWER


ROBOT USED IN ITALY’S LARGEST DECOMMISSIONING PROJECT Ansaldo Nuclear was


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nsaldo Nuclear recently provided a bespoke robot to effectively extract and recover 2,000 drums of radioactive waste from hard-to-access storage locations at Caorso Nuclear Power Plant, as part of one of the biggest and most complex decommissioning projects in the industry. Within the decommissioning


licence, obtained in 2014, one of the key projects is the treatment and conditioning of around 860 tons of radioactive ion exchange resins and sludges, still contained in two temporary storage buildings at the Caorso facility. This waste represents more than 90% of the contamination inventory at Caorso NPP. The aim of the project is to transform this waste into final packages, with a volume reduction factor of 10, whilst emptying the two storage buildings in order to refurbish them.


contracted in 2015 by Società Gestione Impianti Nucleari (Sogin) for the retrieval, transport, treatment and conditioning of the spent resins and sludges as part of a joint venture with Javys. This will see the firm transporting a total of 5,600 200kg drums of Caorso’s radioactive waste to the Javys waste storage facility at Jaslovské Bohunice in Slovakia, to be stabilised via incineration and finally conditioned. To enable the retrieval project to


start in January 2020, Ansaldo Nuclear designed, manufactured, installed and operated a bespoke Machine Retrieval System (MRS) robot to safely retrieve 2,000 drums of radioactive waste that were stored in a variety of niches within the temporary storage facilities at Caorso.


The MRS robot, which was used


to retrieve, verify, seal and pack the radioactive drums, took six months to build and install. Controlled remotely, with a double operating system in place in case of system failure, it is capable of self-recovery in the event of earthquakes or other external safety issues. l


For more information visit www.ansaldoenergia.com


ENGINEERS DEVELOP MATERIALS that could HELP CLEAN-UP FUKUSHIMA


nuclear power stations have been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield. The materials, produced by Dr Claire Corkhill and her team from the University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, in collaboration with scientists in Ukraine, can simulate the Lava-like Fuel Containing


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aterials that could be used to help clean-up the Chernobyl and Fukushima


Materials (LFCMs) that are obstructing decommissioning efforts at the nuclear disaster sites. The development is the first time a close approximation of a real LFCM has ever been achieved. LFCMs are a mixture of highly


radioactive molten nuclear fuel and building materials that fuse together during a nuclear meltdown. The masses present a highly


dangerous risk to personnel and the environment in the surrounding area and could remain a hazard for decades, even millennia, unless something can be done to stabilise or remove them. However, very few samples of these meltdown materials are available to study and the masses are often too hazardous for people or even robots to


get close to in order to better understand the behaviour of the materials. Dr Corkhill said: “Understanding the mechanical, thermal and chemical properties of the materials created in a nuclear meltdown is critical to help retrieve them, for example, if we don’t know how hard they are, how can we create the radiation-resistant robots required to cut them out?” In the new research, the University of Sheffield engineers report their development of small batches of low radioactivity materials that can be used to simulate LFCMs. These simulated materials are used to analyse the thermal characteristics and corrosion kinetics of LFCMs, which produced results that are very close to those of real LFCM samples reported by previous studies. l


For more information visit www.sheffield.ac.uk


www.engineerlive.com 49


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