Italy / Ansaldo Nuclear Uses Bespoke Robot To Recover Caorso Radioactive Waste Drums

By David Dalton
14 April 2020

Ansaldo Nuclear Uses Bespoke Robot To Recover Caorso Radioactive Waste Drums
The robot was designed and operated by Ansaldo Nuclear. Photo courtesy Ansaldo Nuclear.
Ansaldo Nuclear has provided a bespoke robot to extract and recover 2,000 drums of radioactive waste from hard-to-access storage locations at the single-unit Caorso nuclear power plant in northern Italy.

The Genoa-based company said the exercise is part of one of the biggest and most complex decommissioning projects in the industry.

Ansaldo Nuclear designed, manufactured, installed and operated the robot. It was used to retrieve, verify, seal and pack the radioactive drums.

Under the terms of the decommissioning licence, obtained in 2014, one of the key projects is the treatment and conditioning of around 860 tonnes of radioactive ion exchange resins and sludges, still contained in two temporary storage buildings at the Caorso facility.

This waste represents more than 90% of the contamination inventory at Caorso. The aim of the project is to transform this waste into final packages, with a volume reduction factor of 10, whilst emptying the two storage buildings in order to refurbish them.

Ansaldo Nuclear was contracted in 2015 Italy’s state-owned nuclear decommissioning and radioactive waste management company Sogin for the retrieval, transport, treatment and conditioning of the spent resins and sludges as part of a joint venture with Slovakia decommissioning company Javys.

Caorso is a single-unit 860-MW boiling water reactor plant. It began commercial operation in 1981 and was permanently shut down in 1990.

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