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Contact us today to discuss your bespoke and complete conveyor system needs

01509 816064

sales@central-conveyors.co.uk

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Chain driven roller conveyor assists in the removal of nuclear waste for Magnox

January 22, 2014

Each and every one of the conveyors and conveyor systems that CCL design, fabricate and install are produced to the highest possible standards for the industry they are intended to be used in, thus ensuring that our customers receive a machine that meets their bespoke, exacting needs. That said, some industries require an attention to detail and delivery of specification beyond our usual level of excellence, such as when Magnox asked us to provide a chain driven roller conveyor to assist in the removal of nuclear waste.

magnox nuclear waste conveyor

Magnox, a subsiduary of EnergySolutions (who in turn are owned by US private equity firm Energy Capital Partners) are tasked with the responsibility of decommissioning the Bradwell nuclear power station, following its shutdown in March 2002 after 40 years of operation, on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Among the many activities this process requires is the removal of nuclear waste from the site.

Various phases are required before nuclear waste can be safely secured and made mobile. The CCL chain driven roller conveyor plays a fundemental role in ensuring that this process is done correctly. Firstly, phase one of the process involves the external casing for each quantity of waste being positioned correctly at the start end of the conveyor. (These containers look just like standard oil drums, but in fact differ significantly in specification. Within each steel drum is a 50mm concrete wall, which in turn is sandwiched by an interior layer of steel. This steel/concrete/steel ring provides a protective housing for a special, purpose built cylinder to be inserted, which contains the actual nuclear waste).

Once on the motor powered chain driven roller conveyor, each drum – one at a time – is moved into phase two – a lead wall protected decontamination chamber. This area is more significant at the end of the waste storage process, so the drum passes through to the third phase contaminated area (again, lead walled) where the drum is positioned ready to receive the special cylinder (which contains the waste). Accuracy is vital, and so to ensure the drum is positioned correctly a series of photo sensors are employed along various stages of the conveyor route. There are four of these stop positions along the length of the conveyor: the first sensor is at the very beginning and helps position the drum when initially placed on the conveyor; the second sensor is within the decontamination area; the third and fourth sensors are situated within the phase three contaminated area.

nuclear waste conveyor

Once on the motor powered chain driven roller conveyor, each drum – one at a time – is moved into phase two – a lead wall protected decontamination chamber. This area is more significant at the end of the waste storage process, so the drum passes through to the third phase contaminated area (again, lead walled) where the drum is positioned ready to receive the special cylinder (which contains the waste). Accuracy is vital, and so to ensure the drum is positioned correctly a series of photo sensors are employed along various stages of the conveyor route. There are four of these stop positions along the length of the conveyor: the first sensor is at the very beginning and helps position the drum when initially placed on the conveyor; the second sensor is within the decontamination area; the third and fourth sensors are situated within the phase three contaminated area.

When the drum moves into the contaminated area, the third sensor ensures it stops at the exact point necessary so that a robotic arm can accurately place the special cylinder (containing the waste) smoothly and cleanly into the outer casing. Once acheived, the newly filled drum is moved to the position determined by the forth sensor, so that an automated suction unit can be lowered and employed to remove any and all loose dust or matter that may be in the drum.

By this stage, the drum is at the end of the chain driven roller conveyor. To complete the storage process it needs to be reversed along the conveyor, back to the third sensor position. This time the robotic arm is employed to securely attach a lid to the top of the drum. Once in place, the drum resumes its reverse course, next stopping at the second sensor in the decontamination chamber. Once inside this area, the sealed drum undergoes the necessary decontamination process required to ensure there is no contamination on its exterior. When this process is acheived, the drum completes its journey back along the conveyor to the first sensor stop point, from where it is lifted up and moved to its storage area.

The chain driven roller conveyor is made from mild steel, and powered by a 0.75kw motor which generates 220 nM torque, sufficient to safely convey each 500kg drum one at a time. Daisy chained to duplex (twin) sprockets on the end of each roller, the chain driven roller conveyor performs its task smoothly and effortlessly, ensuring that its important contribution to the removal of nuclear waste is done safely, securely and reliably.

Chain driven roller conveyor for use in hazardous areas

CCL have been trusted to provide a chain driven roller conveyor, and ATEX compliant fuel pellet conveyors, for use in hazardous areas. Our designers, engineers and fabricators are experienced in providing bespoke conveyors and control panels and PLCs across a wide range of industries and sectors. To discover more telephone CCL on 01509 816064, or email us. Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form.