Remote-Control Scanning Tested for DOE Decommissioning Work

The Savannah River Site's Area Closure Project successfully tested a commercially available laser scanning system that would aid in planning deactivation and decommissioning jobs, SRNL reports.

A laser scanner deployed on a small, remotely controlled mobile platform shows promise for the Department of Energy's deactivation and decommissioning of facilities without requiring workers to enter highly contaminated or structurally deteriorating spaces, the Savannah River National Laboratory's "Science at Work" magazine reports in its latest issue. A short article in the issue includes a photograph of the device, which included a video camera so the operator in another room could navigate around piping and obstacles.

The Savannah River Site's Area Closure Project used a commercially available laser scanning system, a FARO LS 880 from GKS Inspection Services, and SRNL built the remote-control platform from commercially available components, according to the article. It says DOE facilities nationwide that are destined for deactivation and decommissioning are challenging because:

  • High levels of contamination make them dangerous for employees to spend time inside,
  • They are dangerous to enter because of structural deterioration, or
  • As-built engineering drawings "do not exist or are unreliable."

The test inside a room in SRS's decommissioned P Reactor -- it began operations in 1954 and was shut down in 1988 -- acquired five hours of data from 20 locations, with imagery that "would be of great value for project planning," according to the article.

SRS is in Aiken, S.C. According to the site's online history page, its construction employees reached 23 million hours (11 consecutive years) without a lost-time injury case in 2009.

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