Water Jetting Solution to Depressurise Sludge Canisters at Magnox’s Berkeley Site

BHR Group

BHR Group has secured a major contract with Magnox to deploy a DIAJET waterjetting system to depressurise sludge canisters in the storage vaults at their Berkeley Site.

As part of the Magnox waste projects programme, Berkeley Site will be retrieving and packaging intermediate level waste (ILW) held in the Active Waste Vaults into approved waste packages that can be stored on site prior to long term disposal at a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

The Sludge Can Processing and Retrievals project involves the safe retrieval of metal canisters containing radioactive sludge, produced during routine operations of the nuclear site during electricity generation, handling and transferring sludge as ILW for onward processing and management of the canisters as low level waste.  As a result of the storage process, the canisters have the potential to be pressurised with gases produced during storage.  Magnox will need to prove that they are depressurised within the vault, prior to retrieval.

A waterjet cutting solution was proposed as the safest and most appropriate depressurisation method, which has been subject to extensive trials both off and on the site. Now into the third phase of the project, BHR Group will design, build, test, set to work and inactively commission DIAJET waterjetting equipment to safely depressurise the sludge cans within Vault 3, to permit retrieval and onward processing.

BHR Group designs and manufactures advanced waterjet cutting and decontamination solutions, creating equipment that employs its DIAJET suspension slurry technology. This technology delivers an abrasive-water slurry along a single hose. As a result the engine/pump, water and slurry modules can be remote from each other and/or from the cutting/cleaning nozzle. The cutting/cleaning operation at the nozzle can be up to 1000m from the pumping and slurry modules with little reduction in cutting performance.  This is a distinct advantage over entrainment waterjet systems when the operator and equipment need to be located well away from any potential hazard or where human access for cutting/cleaning is restricted.

Jo Adams, Magnox Project Manager said: “This contract marks an important step in our decommissioning journey here at Berkeley. We chose BHR Group as they were able to work with us to create the ideal solution for us using their waterjetting equipment. The BHR team took time to understand the complexities and challenges we face, this collaborative approach has resulted in an innovative solution that fully meets our criteria.”

BHR Group’s CEO David Winter said: “We’re delighted to continue our relationship with the Magnox Berkeley team. BHR Group is committed to driving innovation in the nuclear industry by tailoring our products and services to meet the varied challenges it faces. This project is a great example of how we work collaboratively with our clients and partners to adapt our waterjetting solution to provide the best result possible.”