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Recovery and Over-packing of Carbon Steel Resin Liners for a Nuclear Waste Management Facility

Successful multi-contractor project for the safe, efficient management of 400 in-ground nuclear waste containers

Project Overview

Deteriorating carbon steel cylindrical liners of various design vintages containing spent ion exchange resins were re-packed in stainless steel over-packs.

The work required recovering stored liners, with surface dose rates up to 10 rem/h, from depths of up to 40 feet below grade, and packaging them into shielded over-packs for placement back into the IC structures.

Due to the potential presence of flammable gas within the headspace in each liner, and concerns related to lifting the pressurized liners, venting of liners was required. This was achieved using innovative water jet technology which allowed the liners to be perforated in-situ prior to being recovered.

In order to limit radioactive carbon-14 and tritium emissions, scrubber systems were utilized to clean up the IC environment.

Emissions were monitored using innovative, portable, specially-designed scrubber systems. Liner dose rate and gamma activity measurements were performed in-situ by lowering radiological equipment down the 4-6 inch sample pipe which runs along the full depth of each IC.

This process permitted dose rates at the surface of the stored liners to be projected prior to lifting, providing valuable data for planning liner recoveries.

Work was conducted on a Construction Island within the facility.

Project Schedule

The project, comprising Kinectrics and other contractors, was successfully completed ahead of schedule in March 2008. The schedule was met despite crew limitations and harsh weather conditions.

Safety Performance

The project was completed without a lost time accident and the total dose expended was only one-tenth of that projected. This is attributed to the effectiveness and rigorous implementation of the radiation protection program developed for the project.