The Belgonucléaire plant in Dessel (Belgium) was operated from 1985 until 2005 for producing MOX fuel in glove boxes. All 44 glove boxes had been highly contaminated with plutonium and were connected with each other during operation and have been connected to a central under pressure system.
Studsvik Germany experience of a similar project at Siemens Hanau enabled us to support the client efficiently and use the best available techniques.
Between March 2009 and December 2014 19 employees were assigned for this project in planning and execution. In total 60 tons of contaminated material were dismantled. Following the initial segmentation the resulting waste had to be further separated into primary (glove box parts) and secondary items (auxiliary parts and devices).
The project comprised the following steps:
- Complete emptying of all glove boxes and mutual disconnection as well as mounting of enclosures to avoid further contamination
- 29 state of the art enclosure tents had to be constructed, erected and dismantled
- Each glove box was brought into the tents while ensuring pressure differentials where maintained
- The radiation safety glass had to be dismantled and cleaned
- The tents had to be sealed by welding and leak tested
- The segmentation was performed by mechanical, cold methods
- The segmented material had to be sorted and packed into 200 liter drums ensuring only low quantities of plutonium could be placed into each drum
- The site had to be cleared and free released completely