January 17

Whiteshell Laboratories Standpipe Remediation

To safely decommission and remediate its Whiteshell site, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) needs remote-operated, bespoke robotics and automation equipment. Promation Nuclear was tasked with the design, fabrication, inspection and testing of two separate nuclear-grade ventilation systems and the standpipe waste retrieval system (SWRS).

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The Challenge

As part of the Whiteshell decommissioning project, radioactive waste needs to be removed from 171 in-ground standpipes in a safe and reliable manner. With the exact contents of the radioactive waste unknown, remote-operated equipment is needed to safely extract decades-old tools, debris and liquids contained within each standpipe. As the site is an open field, the equipment must be properly designed to operate outdoors. Furthermore, the systems must sufficiently contain radioactive contamination, provide the required radiation protection, and condition the exhaust generated during decommissioning activities to prevent release of radioactive contamination to the environment.

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The Solution

The SWRS is a remote-operated, semi-automated solution to extract waste from the standpipes. Once extracted, the SWRS then characterizes, sorts and transfers the waste to a shielded container. The SWRS is enclosed within a containment shell and weatherproof enclosure to protect it from the environment. To condition the exhaust and prevent release of radioactive contamination to the environment, Promation Nuclear designed two portable, nuclear-grade ventilation systems that are contained within a shipping container and house a nuclear-grade filtration system, a fan, and the required controls and monitoring equipment. The design and construction of these ventilation systems is compliant with ASME AG-1. Conditioned exhaust exits through a stack that incorporates a sampling system to monitor for radionuclides as per ANSI/HPS N13.1.

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The Benefit

Promation successfully designed the portable ventilation systems and the SWRS. This equipment is in the process of integrated assembly and test and will soon be ready for field deployment.

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