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Hot Particle Removal Project

Removal of high radiation particle from nuclear primary heat transfer system using custom-designed robots.

Project Objective

The project objective was to remove a small particle of intensely radioactive metal which had become lodged in a Steam Generator (SG) drain line in a Unit at the client’s nuclear station.

The gamma radiation field from the hot particle was highly elevated from normal conditions. Consequently, no inspection or maintenance could be performed on the SG until the hot particle was removed.

The Kinectrics Solution

Kinectrics supplied and operated a set of customized remotely-controlled robotic crawlers and tools to remove the hot particle without necessitating any dose to personnel.  

This leading-edge robotic technology was developed and rigorously tested by Kinectrics. The hot particle removal procedure for this project was conducted as follows:

  • Hot particle location determined with gamma sensors
  • Insulation cut and removed to expose drain pipe
  • Pipe section containing hot particle frozen with liquid nitrogen
  • Pipe section cut out with reciprocating saws
  • Pipe section delivered to heavily-shielded flask

A pneumatic contingency crawler was provided in the event of failure of the primary tooling.

In order to ensure safety and control of the work at all times, the client’s radiation teledosimetery monitoring equipment checked for changing conditions during project execution.

Successful Solution

Kinectrics successfully and safely removed the highly-hazardous particle. Radiation fields dropped from thousands of Rad/hour to normal background levels of 20m Rad/hour.

The pneumatic robot crawler was instrumental in completing the transfer of the hazardous particle into the storage flask following a partial failure of the primary tooling.

In addition, this technically-challenging project was executed by the Kinectrics team on a very tight schedule.