Safe inspection of radioactive waste tanks
FORCE Technology’s specially designed scanning equipment makes crack detection and thickness measurements in one process.
Savannah River runs almost 500 kilometres between Georgia and South Carolina on its way to the Atlantic. At the southeast side of the river in South Carolina lies the Savannah River Site in an area covering approx. 800 square kilometres. This is the location of WSRC – Washington Savannah River Company – which is responsible for the large underground depots for the storage of highly radioactive waste.
This environment places heavy demands on the safety of the depots and is a major challenge for the inspection of the depot which is made at regular intervals. FORCE Technology has taken on the challenge. Since 1999, FORCE Technology has provided advanced equipment for safe and efficient inspection of the depot tanks at the Savannah River Site.
”The WSRC project includes various interesting challenges. The depot has an inner steel tank built into an outer tank of concrete. The condition of the steel tank is inspected from the cavity between the two tanks. It is accessed through vertical pipes with a diameter of max. 15 centimetres and a length of up to 4.5 metres. We have developed a special inspection system consisting of a crawler and a P-scan System 4 to record and present ultrasound data and electronics for remote control of the crawler”, explains Jørgen Dam, Sales Manager at FORCE Technology.
Customised inspection equipment
The equipment has been customised to the requirements of WSRC and the special conditions that apply on the site. The tight access for the crawler, which carries ultrasound probes, video camera and light, has called for technical innovation and creativity. The crawler and the scanner system, which is controlled remotely from a measuring unit in a safe distance from the radioactive contents of the tank, perform thickness measurements and crack detection in one and the same process.
”Savannah River National Laboratory performs regular inspections of the 3.9 million litre tanks which are now 50 years old. With the advanced P-scan system and the crawler from FORCE Technology they have a tool which is very important for the continued monitoring of the condition of the tank in terms of safety”, says Jørgen Dam.
Since 1999, FORCE Technology has delivered crawlers for tank inspections performed by the Savannah River National Laboratory. All the systems are adjusted to their handling and inspection requirements.