arrow left
arrow right

Integrated Mast & Crane Rig for Nuclear Decommissioning – Sellafield Nuclear Power Station

When faced with the task of retrieving ILW sludge and other items from Sellafield’s wet storage bays, including the additional difficulty of restricted physical access, SCX Special Projects had to apply the best of its mechanical and electrical expertise. Following the development of a prototype to test the concept of a mast-mounted manipulator to reach into the pits and extract the waste, SCX delivered two handling systems that demonstrate our innovation in solving the nuclear waste handling challenge.

The Challenge

Sellafield has a series of wet storage bays from which intermediate-level waste (ILW) needs to be removed. The waste pits contain a variety of material from sludge to large items, the latter needing to go through a size reduction process before export.

Access to the pits is via a very restricted opening, so a mechanical means of entering the bay and reaching into its far corners was needed. A remote control handling solution was essential too, with safety and recovery systems to mitigate handling risks and mechanical failure.

The Solution

SCX engineered, built and installed two waste retrieval systems, one for each storage bay. These were developed following an initial feasibility study on whether a telescopic mast could be used to reliably remove differently-sized waste items from beneath the water.

A mast and crane work in tandem on the same gantry to deploy a range of tools into the wet pits. The crane opens and replaces the bay covers, while the tooling mast downsizes and extracts waste from the bays, which is then placed in a container, sealed and removed from the site.

Technical Details

Explore more specialist handling solutions from SCX