A German waste storage facility is being demolished to return it to green field site. The Karlsruhe facility had been providing temporary storage for nuclear waste for some 20 years, when in 1991 the decision came to decommission and completely clear the site. In the years since then the operating company has removed all non-contaminated structures together with those showing only low levels of radioactivity. Then came the task of dismantling the five highly radioactive underground storage chambers: the so-called “hot” phase of the project.
This hazardous work was to be carried out by remote controlled robot and required elaborate preparation before it commenced last year. Since this is the first ever project of its kind the operator had to develop brand new strategies and techniques.
In order to cover every possible viewing angle in the shielded zone and to look down into the under-floor storage chambers themselves, around 60 plettac FAC 838 colour cameras with special protective anti-radiation housings were installed. Existing telephone cabling was used for transmission to the control room which was established 200m away. Each robot has a variety of different tools at their disposal for dismantling the contaminated plant, and should radiation damage eventually cause picture deterioration, the robots can even undertake routine camera replacement.