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.
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.