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Nuclear Engineering Services Limited (NESL) of Ettingshall, Wolverhampton has won a contract to supply a remote powered manipulator arm for Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL).

The manipulator will undergo extensive functional testing, initially at NESL in conjunction with its assembly, into a dedicated modular stainless steelwork and lead-shielded consignment cell structure, and subsequently on site at Dounreay.

Once fully installed the manipulator and consignment cell structure will be located within the former materials test reactor (MTR) reprocessing facility to provide an export route for the decommissioning wastes associated with the size reduction and removal of the in-cell process plant, equipment, vessels and pipework.

Capable of lifting loads of up to 200kg from any position, the manipulator is required to carry out a number of essential waste packaging and consignment activities.

It will process the waste items located within the existing reinforced concrete cell, previously size reduced by other remotely operated equipment.

These activities include selection of waste items from inside the existing cell and transferring these into an inbuilt assay system to segregate remote handling intermediate level waste (RHILW) and low level waste (LLW) before consigning them into the appropriate waste port.

The manipulator will be used to remotely changeover full and empty RHILW waste containers using a sliding-table mechanism and also to secure the connections for the operation of a rodded loading system into a shielded waste flask port mounted on the cell roof.

The manipulator will also be required to consign waste items into a LLW bulk waste box (BWB) container.

A consignment port operated by the manipulator is built into the consignment cell bench with a posting sleeve arrangement, with the BWB located below on a ball transfer table for ease of movement and changeover.

The BWB is designed for handling and placement directly into half-height ISO containers to maximise packaging density following assessment in the associated automated waste assay system.

Designed specifically for minimal maintenance, the arm has no contamination pockets, as access to the containment cell structure is restricted due to the contamination levels.

It will incorporate remotely replaceable handling sleeves for reduced maintenance and cross contamination of items within the cell.

Nuclear Engineering Services Limited

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