The removal of surface contamination is a major challenge for nearly all nuclear facilities undergoing, or awaiting, decommissioning. Conventional means of surface decontamination can expose workers to unnecessary hazards, and are often not fit-for-purpose due to size constraints or weight restrictions. Additionally, conventional methods are not always easily deployed remotely due to their complexity or required services. The use of ultra high pressure water for surface decontamination, known as hydrolasing, is recognized as a technology which can be used in various applications requiring surface removal. Hydrolasing is an advantageous technology for many reasons including its versatility, overall simplicity and relative ease of remote deployment. For the nuclear industry, one of the largest challenges with regards to the use of hydrolasing is the requirement for the full recovery of the injected water and removed solids. For non-nuclear applications, there is often no requirement for recovery of the liquid and solid waste, which has led to few system designs which will recover the waste in full. S.A. Robotics’ experience with the deployment of ultra high pressure water systems for nuclear applications has shown that full recovery of injected water and removed solids is achievable in both underwater and in-air applications. Innovative equipment and system design have allowed S.A. Robotics’ hydrolasing systems to achieve near 100% solid and liquid recovery during concrete hydrolasing. This technology has been deployed for Fluor Hanford at Hanford’s K-Basins, as well as for UKAEA as part of the Windscale Piles decommissioning project. The purpose of this paper is to provide a short description of the hydrolasing process and the associated waste issues, describe the unique design features of S.A. Robotics’ hydrolasing systems which combat these issues, and provide an overview of two of the hydrolasing projects that S.A. Robotics has completed.

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