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Kinectrics Robots Remove High Radiation Source from Nuclear Primary Heat Transfer System

January 15, 2011

Toronto, Ontario, January 15, 2011 – The Kinectrics Inspection and Maintenance Systems team is presenting papers at several conferences detailing the technical and operational challenges overcome during the successful removal of high-activity debris from a client’s nuclear station boiler unit.

With only 12 weeks to design, build, test, train and deliver the equipment to site, Kinectrics subsequently received a special award from the client in recognition of this outstanding technical achievement.

High-activity debris had been detected by a client during a routine survey of the boiler room of its nuclear generating station. Due to the presence of the debris and its radiation fields, approach required special access control, and restrictions were placed on routine maintenance. There was therefore a potential for unit de-rating or shutdown. This was an unacceptable situation from both a safety and operational standpoint.

With extensive input from station engineering and maintenance staff, Kinectrics designed and built four different robots to address the need. Robots did exist for similar work but were physically too large to enter the worksite and were not suitable to operate in high radiation fields. A solution would have to be designed basically from scratch.

After numerous design discussions, the team settled on a basic extraction concept, which turned out to be key. This concept was based on transporting the tools to the source location, freezing the coolant and radiation source in place, cutting the ice bar, and transporting the pipe section containing the frozen coolant and source to a shielded flask. With this strategy, the hot particle was safely removed and placed in an appropriate flask, causing the fields to drop down to ambient levels for the first time in almost two years.

Kinectrics’ Inspection and Maintenance Systems group continues to expand its unique capabilities in nuclear inspection tooling for reliable Life Cycle Management of client assets. The group provides advanced expertise in support of nuclear station maintenance and inspections.

Media contact:
Maureen Rhodes
416-207-6000 ext 6510