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Hot Cell Facility

Hot Cell Facility

BWXT's hot cell facility consists of four independent betagamma type hot cells. The hot cells are connected to each other by transfer ports and a common isolation room. The hot cells are designed to be flexible and allow the interiors to be modified, when necessary, so work can be performed quickly and at the lowest possible cost. The largest of the cells is connected to a water-filled transfer canal by an access hatch. The transfer canal leads to a 25-foot deep storage pool, which is located in a high-bay area equipped with a 25-ton bridge crane for cask handling.

Since 1985, work in the hot cells has consisted of examinations to investigate extended burn-up of commercial light water reactor (LWR) fuel rods, examination of advanced spacer grid designs (both capsule and full sized assemblies), failed in-core instrument detectors, and failed fuel rods. Testing programs have included high flux irradiation exposure of electrical components to be used in nuclear reactors.

HOT CELL DESCRIPTIONS

  • Cell 1 is 16 ft. x 8 ft. x 15 ft. high and has the capability for accepting full length commercial LWR fuel assemblies and fuel rods, and is rated for 300,000 Ci of Co-60.
  • Cell 2 is 14 ft. x 5.75 ft. x 15 ft. high, and is used primarily for metallography and is rated for up to 6,000 Ci of Co-60.
  • Cell 3 is 6 ft. x 4.5 ft. x 15 ft. high and is rated for up to 600 Ci of Co-60.
  • Cell 4 is 6.25 ft. x 4.75 ft. x 15 ft. high and is rated for up to 10,000 Ci of Co-60

EQUIPMENT

The following equipment is available in the hot cell facility:

  • Fuel rod gamma scan station
  • ITI periscope with photographic capability
  • Macrophotography
  • Various in-cell sectioning equipment
  • Bausch & Lomb remote research metallograph
  • Metallographic sample preparation equipment

ISOTOPE RE-ENCAPSULATION FACILITY

A shielded clean facility is located in the cask handling area to process uncontaminated radioactive specimens that must be returned to use in the field. It is used for re-encapsulating Cs-137 and AmBe neutron oil well logging sources. In all, we have re-encapsulated hundreds of gamma and neutron sources. The facility could be used to re-encapsulate other types of sources as well. The stainless steel work area measures 4 ft. wide by 4 ft. high by 12 ft. long, and is divided into three work areas.

SERVICES

The following remote operations can be performed in the isotope re-encapsulation facility:

  • Milling
  • TIG welding
  • Liquid penetrant inspection
  • Video inspection / recording
  • Decontamination
  • Hydrostatic pressure testing
  • Dimensional verification