3D scanning for decommissioning parts

sellafield logoSellafield Ltd is again embracing new technology and this time it’s in the field of 3D blue-LED scanning.

This relatively new technology is providing cost and schedule savings in the oldest nuclear fuel storage pond at Sellafield.  Preparations are being made to export historic nuclear waste out of the 60-year-old Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) currently undergoing decommissioning.  A massive 40 tonne stainless steel container is being modified to transfer the radioactive sludge from the PFSP to a waste encapsulation plant for treatment.

Alistair Norwood, Head of Metrology said: “3D scanning is being used to design the new container lid.  The scan cost about £3000 versus the estimated £25,000 cost of using a metrology rig.  It was also carried out in a fraction of the normal 6 months taken to manufacture such a component using traditional tooling.

“This is just one example of the potential use of 3D scanning that could be applied at Sellafield – the opportunities are almost limitless.  Anyone needing metal components, parts and one-offs could potentially benefit from 3D scanning.

“We’re also exploring the world of 3D printing and the PFSP has already used the technology to manufacture plant parts.”

Lead Mechanical Engineer, Eduard Bordas, said: “I was tasked with the job to re-use an existing container and to get a new lid designed with a filling port to allow the sludge to be metered into drums.  We recognised early on that is was paramount that the new lid will fit the old body first time.  None of the traditional metrology methods available gave us the same confidence that 3D scanning did.  3D scanning was simpler, cheaper and more accurate – basically it provided fit-for-purpose technology that we’re adapting for the nuclear industry at Sellafield.”

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