The manufacture of items destined for use in the nuclear sector involves challenging fabrication issues in a wide range of materials. Applications range from the manufacture of the fuel elements and associated equipment to the decommissioning of aged plant and safe disposal of nuclear waste. In all areas welding must be of a high standard so as to produce joints that will meet the exacting demands of nuclear service.
Radioactive waste disposal, particularly if it is high level, requires remote handling and long-term exclusion of the material from the biosphere by encapsulation and shielding. The latter is often achieved by sealing the waste material in metallic canisters specially chosen to survive very long term storage (up to 100,000 years) in deep geological depositories.
In March 2009 the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority awarded TWI a contract to demonstrate the capabilities of lasers for surface removal of contaminated concrete structures and size reduction of vessels and pipe work. The project was completed successfully in March 2010.
In July 2010 TWI reported results of a project supported by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to demonstrate the potential of high power lasers for concrete scabbling and pipe cutting. As a consequence of the interest generated within in the industry, particularly with respect to the cutting results, TWI has now demonstrated an additional capability to cut thick section materials and also to cut underwater.
TWI has unique global experience of the materials, design and fabrication aspects of nuclear waste containers.
TWI is totally independent and frequently provides peer review services in support of submissions to regulatory bodies.
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