Autonomous loading of content in a type B packaging

Wim Boeckx - Transnubel
Robby Vandendries - Transnubel
Xavier Van Mierloo - Transnubel
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Loading high and intermediate-level radioactive waste into type B packaging is challenging. Often waste is stored in drums that need to be loaded into a type B packaging for transfer to a waste facility. To protect the workers, the dose uptake needs to be as low as reasonably achievable. The loading/unloading systems and the type B packaging need to be designed, allowing the autonomous loading/unloading of the waste to minimize dose uptake by the workers during the operations.After one year of design and construction, the autonomous system is ready for the loading and unloading of two new-build packagings CAROLINE-R80. The autonomous system is designed based on the experience gained during many years of nuclear transport of drums.In order to load and unload the drums in different kinds of nuclear facilities, many interface challenges have to be treated. Physical properties of the autonomous system such as dimensions and weight are limiting factors, as many facilities are not foreseen to handle such large and heavy packagings. Different specific equipment is designed in order to facilitate remote loading and unloading operations to cope with the high dose rate waste.Different tests have been executed in Belgian nuclear facilities to optimize the autonomous loading/unloading of drums. In future, other contents, such as high level radioactive liquid or hospital sources, can also be loaded with this autonomous system.