UK-based engineering consultant Ansaldo Nuclear has developed a robot to extract radioactive waste from storage locations at the Caorso nuclear power plant, which is situated in Italy.

The company is responsible for the treatment and conditioning of nearly 860 tonnes of radioactive ion exchange resins and sludges. The waste is present in two temporary storage facilities at Caorso.

For executing this work, the company developed the Machine Retrieval System (MRS) robot for retrieval, verification, sealing and packing the radioactive drums.

The robot can be controlled remotely and is equipped with a double operating system. It has the capacity to recover 2,000 drums of radioactive waste.

Ansaldo Nuclear project engineer and bid technical manager Francesca Maggini said: “The extent of the logistical challenge presented by this phase of the Caorso decommissioning project cannot be underestimated.

“The unique nature of nuclear decommissioning means it is important to face each decommissioning project as an entirely new challenge.

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By GlobalData

“You cannot simply repeat the successes of the past – you must pioneer and develop bespoke solutions in order to see the best results. Through effective innovation and installation, we have enabled the decommissioning of Caorso to continue.

“Ansaldo Nuclear has been involved with the decommissioning of Caorso since 2000, and we’re proud to remain on this substantial project today.”

In 2015, Società Gestione Impianti Nucleari (Sogin) awarded the contract to Ansaldo Nuclear for the retrieval, transport, treatment and conditioning of the spent resins and sludges.

As part of the contract, Ansaldo will transport the drums containing Caorso’s radioactive waste to the JAVYS waste storage facility.

Located at Jaslovské Bohunice in Slovakia, the facility will stabilise the radioactive waste through incineration and then finally conditioned.